Isaiah 22 begins with the judgment of the city of Jerusalem. Some say it has to do with the Assyrian attack, and it may be, but I would lean in a different direction. We will see as we study the Scriptures, that the Assyrians did not conquer Jerusalem, but the Babylonians did.
When Babylon conquered Jerusalem the Jewish men were slain with the sword (Isaiah 22:2), God removed the protection of Judah, and the city of David was damaged (Isaiah 22:8-9). The leaders and citizens of the city of Jerusalem did everything they could to protect themselves – even using their broken down houses to fortify the wall – but they did not get their lives right with God. They looked to their military but not the Almighty.
Isaiah 22:11 (NKJV) “You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.”
Isaiah also predicted the replacement of Shebna, an unfaithful steward in Jerusalem, with Eliakim, a faithful man. I’m reminded of:
Psalm 75:6–7 (NKJV) “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. 7 But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”
Isaiah 23 describes the future judgment of Tyre and Sidon, cities that prospered greatly on the Mediterranean coastline.
Warren Wierse, “Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities that brought great wealth to the nation by shipping and trading. It seemed incredible that such a successful economy would be wiped out, but it happened just as the prophet warned.”
Isaiah 23:8–9 (NKJV) “Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are the honorable of the earth? 9 The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.”
As we read through Isaiah, we’re reminded that our God is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the just and holy Judge who in the appointed time, will make all things new, every wrong will be dealt with – every wrong will be made right, justice will be served.
Isaiah 24 even speaks of the judgment of the entire earth. Did you notice how any times Isaiah mentions the “earth” in this chapter? Here are few instances:
Isaiah 24:1 (NKJV) “Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, distorts its surface and scatters abroad its inhabitants.”
Isaiah 24:6 (NKJV) “Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.”
Isaiah 24:19–20 (NKJV) “The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again.”
Isaiah 24:21 (NKJV) “It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth.”
And then the day will come, when King Jesus will rule the world. O Lord, how we long for that day!
Isaiah 24:23 (NKJV) “Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.”
Paul reminds the Galatians (and us) of salvation by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law. I believe the sin Paul is writing about in Galatians 2:17-18 has to do with the sin of unbelief and returning back to the law. He doesn’t want to “build” those things again! The religious person Paul had been all his life had died, he was crucified (Galatians 2:20), now the life he lived on earth, he lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him (us).
Legalism and a performance-oriented Christianity is not only an external temptation…it’s also an intrinsic inclination. This is why the enemy is so successful in his endeavor to bring people back into the bondage of legalism. It’s hard to believe that not only are we saved by faith, but we’re also sanctified by faith. By nature, we’ve come to believe that nothing is free and therefore we must work hard and “perform” in order to possess the promises of God, this is why the law was so alluring to the Galatians.
Paul rebuked them strongly – they were being foolish, they were “bewitched,” it’s as if someone had cast a spell on them. They knew Jesus died so they might live, but now it’s as if they were saying a crucified Christ was not enough.
If you think back to the beginning of your Christian life, you’ll remember that you were saved when you simply believed in Jesus, by faith. We began as Christians, in the Spirit, why then do we think we can grow as Christians, in the flesh? (And that’s what religion is, all those rules and regulations – personal convictions imposed on others – it’s fallen flesh – it will fail every time).
The Judaizers were telling them that they needed to be circumcised in order to be saved, to be a Jew first, in order to be a Christian – Paul said absolutely not! We are saved by faith alone…In Christ alone.
Paul goes back to Abraham to whom the promises were given and illustrates the fact that Abraham simply believed, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. It’s interesting that the Abrahamic covenant was not only a covenant of personal faith, but it was also a covenant that would spread to the whole wide world, “…in you all the nations shall be blessed…” (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14).
The background to this Psalm is 2 Samuel 8 when the war wasn’t going well. God went on to give Israel the victory, but it wasn’t easy.
David felt as if God had cast them off, and broken them down, that God was displeased with them; he says something interesting in:
Psalm 60:3 (NKJV) “You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.”
Yes, it’s true my friend, God does allow us to go through days of difficulty, there will be many times when we just don’t understand, but God is NOT the author of confusion for His people (1 Corinthians 14:33). David was mistaken about that.
When we find ourselves in those trying times, let’s keep praying as David did in this Psalm, standing on God’s promises (Psalm 60:6) and remembering God’s track record. Who will give us the victory? Only God. He alone is the source of our strength, the heart of our help.
Psalm 60:11–12 (NKJV) “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. 12 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.”
It has to be God – are we seeking Him? Seriously? Honestly?
If so, wow, what victory we will experience! To be “valiant” is to have courage and persevere, especially in difficult circumstances (Psalm 60:12). A basketball player with a sore ankle who helps win the game has played valiantly. A war hero has served his or her country, valiantly. This word “valiant” has to do with strength of character and fortitude. Acting valiantly is difficult, which is why our friends admire it and our foes despise it. It’s by this type of God given valor that our foes are defeated.
Proverbs 23:15 (NKJV) “My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself; 16 Yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things.”
What sweeter sound could there be than hearing God’s Word and wisdom flowing from the lips of our children? John the beloved articulated this in:
3 John 1:4 (NKJV) “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
The greatest joy of a Christian parent, is not in the physical health of their children, it’s not in the financial success of their family – it doesn’t matter all that much if our kids are talented or prosperous, rich, or “successful,” – what if they had all that and lacked godly wisdom.
If their heart is spiritually wise, our heart rejoices.
“The love of our child’s soul is the priority, the epitome of the Christian parent’s love.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.