Isaiah 7 – He is coming!

The second part of chapter 7 of Isaiah brings more bad news for national Israel. Last time we saw that YHWH had told Ahaz he would fall if he was not firm in his faith. Like Peter sinking into the waves when took his focus off Christ and fixed his eyes on the storm; he was not firm in his faith. So Ahaz, with disastrous results.

Our passage opens with God speaking to Ahaz. Isaiah 7:10-11 (HCSB) Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz: “Ask for a sign from the LORD your God—from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.” Ahaz put on false humility: Isaiah 7:12 (HCSB) But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the LORD.” Note this: obedience to what God has commanded does NOT put God to the test; it puts man to the test. The Creator is not pleased with this creature’s attitude. His prophet replies.

Isaiah 7:13 (HCSB) Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God?” God’s patience was tried by the creature’s disobedience. By addressing Ahaz by his covenant identity, YHWH is reminding him that he (and the house of David) have been blessed by God unlike any other nation; and now he is rebelling against the One Who has been their provision.

Isaiah 7:14-17 (HCSB) Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating butter and honey. For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. The LORD will bring on you, your people, and the house of your father, such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah—the king of Assyria ⌊is coming⌋.”

This well-known prophecy, “a virgin will conceive and her son will be named Immanuel – God with us!” is couched in the middle of bad news for national Israel. We see this son will learn obedience (Heb 5:8) and will be poor (eating butter – or sour milk – and honey was a sign of poverty). While He is growing into manhood (we speak of His human nature) both north and south Israel will be destitute – YHWH will send Assyria to punish them for continued disobedience. Rome would rule Israel by the time Jesus walked its streets.

The closing passage on this chapter talks about the judgment that will come on national Israel, using the phrase, “On that day,” four times in announcing bad news.

Isaiah 7:18-19 (HCSB) On that day the LORD will whistle to the fly that is at the farthest streams of the Nile and to the bee that is in the land of Assyria. All of them will come and settle in the steep ravines, in the clefts of the rocks, in all the thornbushes, and in all the water holes.

The Creator is sovereign over all creation – even bugs. He sent flies and bees to swarm over the entire kingdom that had been given to the people He had created.

Isaiah 7:20 (HCSB) On that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave the head, the hair on the legs, and to remove the beard as well.

To be shaved clean was a mark of shame in that day. YHWH sends Assyria to bring shame to national Israel.

Isaiah 7:21-22 (HCSB) On that day a man will raise a young cow and two sheep, and from the abundant milk they give he will eat butter, for every survivor in the land will eat butter and honey.

National Israel will be thrown into poverty; those who survive will have sour milk and honey; hallmarks of lack rather than abundance.

Isaiah 7:23-25 (HCSB) And on that day every place where there were 1,000 vines, worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become thorns and briers. A man will go there with bow and arrows because the whole land will be thorns and briers. You will not go to all the hills that were once tilled with a hoe, for fear of the thorns and briers. ⌊Those hills⌋ will be places for oxen to graze and for sheep to trample.

On that day, what was once bright and valuable will be as weeds and goat heads. Hunters will find nothing, farmers’ work will yield nothing. Oxen will graze there and sheep will trample everything. The lost sheep of Israel, waiting for their Shepherd.

There is One Shepherd, one sheepfold. The everlasting kingdom is not your country, it’s not of this world. His kingdom is spiritual and will be fulfilled on the new earth when He returns, not to deal with sin but to gather those who eagerly await Him. Are you looking for Him, being faithful with what He’s given you? Are you grumbling because you don’t have enough stuff? Someone more mighty and awesome than the king of Assyria is coming. Do you know Him? Are you ready?

That Great and Terrible Day

Isaiah chapter 2 is full of warning and rebuke, foretelling of that great and terrible day when Christ returns to judge the nations. National Israel is warned that their long record of rebellion against YHWH and friendship with the world will bring judgment. God has turned His back on them.

Isaiah 2:6 (HCSB) “For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of ⌊divination⌋ from the East and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines. They are in league with foreigners.”

Here the prophet speaks of YHWH, how has abandoned the house of Jacob. They were in league with foreigners. Verses 7 & 8 describe these foreigners: rich, self-satisfied, idolaters. Verse 9 brings the first of three declarations that man will be brought low on that Day. Isaiah 2:9 (HCSB) “So humanity is brought low, and man is humbled. Do not forgive them!” There will be no forgiveness when the Lord makes His second advent (Heb 9:28).

Those who have not been reconciled to God will seek a hiding place: Isaiah 2:10 (HCSB) “Go into the rocks and hide in the dust from the terror of the LORD and from His majestic splendor.” But creation cannot hide creatures from the Creator!

Isaiah 2:11-12 (HCSB) “Human pride will be humbled, and the loftiness of men will be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted on that day. For a day belonging to the LORD of Hosts is ⌊coming⌋ against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—it will be humbled” The second time we read of humanity being brought low. For when the Lord of glory returns, ALL will kneel before Him, some in worship and adoration; others in terror beyond human description.

Verses 14-16 describe the symbols and signs of the worldly riches that will crumble on that Day. And then the third time of man’s undoing. Isaiah 2:17-18 (HCSB) “So human pride will be brought low, and the loftiness of men will be humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted on that day. The idols will vanish completely.”

Those who have been reconciled to God will seek a hiding place: Isaiah 2:19 (HCSB) “People will go into caves in the rocks and holes in the ground, away from the terror of the LORD and from His majestic splendor, when He rises to terrify the earth.” But creation cannot hide creatures from the Creator!

Isaiah 2:21 (HCSB) “They will go into the caves of the rocks and the crevices in the cliffs, away from the terror of the LORD and from His majestic splendor, when He rises to terrify the earth.” This verse and verse 10, above, ought to bring to your mind the scene in Revelation 6, when the sixth seal is opened:

Revelation 6:12-17 (HCSB) “Then I saw Him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the military commanders, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of Their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?””

Carnal man will not willingly surrender to Christ on that Day, for the day of salvation has passed. He will return when the last spiritual stone has been mined from the earth and placed in the celestial city of New Jerusalem.

What is the bottom line? Isaiah 2:22 (HCSB) “Put no more trust in man, who has only the breath in his nostrils. What is he really worth?”

There is only One in whom we can find safety on that great and terrible day. Christ Jesus is a strong tower of refuge, and advocate for all who are in Him. If you hear His voice, do not harden your heart, for the day of salvation will not last forever. He is coming back. To judge the nations, gather His people, and make all things new.