Isaiah 28:16 is clearly a reference to Jesus Christ – the Rock of our salvation.
Isaiah 28:16 (NKJV) “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.”
The context references leaders who were not leading the people to heaven, but on the contrary, were leading people to death, to Sheol (hell) (Isaiah 28:14-15, 18). Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ, the precious cornerstone, the chief cornerstone (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:6-7) who has made a way for us to have life, to go to an eternal home in heaven…the key we see, even here in Isaiah, is “…whoever believes…” (John 3:16).
“A destruction is determined upon the whole earth…” (Isaiah 28:22b) but if we listen to God and His wonderful world, we will be spared from that judgment we deserve:
Isaiah 28:26 (NKJV) “For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him.”
As we read God’s Word and listen carefully to His voice, He will counsel us through the hard times, He will guide every step of the way:
Isaiah 28:29 (NKJV) “This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.”
But what happens when we don’t cling to God and His Word, to God and His ways? We will experience God’s discipline, just as Jerusalem did. In Isaiah 29 he pronounces woes upon Ariel, which is an allusion to Jerusalem. Babylon would conquer Jerusalem, and over the years many countries (including the Romans) have crushed this city. We even read in Isaiah 29:8 that the multitude of nations shall fight against Mount Zion.
One of the most miraculous things about being a believer, is that we comprehend the things of God, we understand the “language” of God as we read His Word and heed His still small voice. Isaiah writes about people who were not saved and therefore God’s Word was sealed to them. Isaiah writes about people who were literate, able to read, but were not able to understand the Scriptures or the words of the prophet of God. (Isaiah 29:10-12)
It’s tragic to see that the Jews of Isaiah’s day were guilty of the same thing in Jesus’ day who referenced Isaiah 29:13 in:
Matthew 15:7-9 (NKJV) “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
We call ourselves Christians, but are we really like Christ? We sing and tell God we love Him, but do we truly love the Lord? May God protect us and remind us to rid ourselves of any hypocrisy. Let’s draw near to God in our hearts. May the Spirit of God empower us to be the “real deal,” not just talkie-talkies, but walkie-talkies.
And yet, in spite of all this, God would not abandon the Jews, God would one day and throughout all of time, spare Israel (see Romans 9-11). They would be “fruitful” (Isaiah 29:17), they would be joyful (Isaiah 29:19), “Those who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.” (Isaiah 29:24)
In Isaiah 30 he begins with an indictment of God’s people who go down to Egypt for help. Egypt is a “type” of the world.
It’s so sad when we see people who call themselves “Followers of God,” end up following the world; people who devise plans that are not of God and ask advice from the unsaved. The Jews would soon discover that Egypt would not be able to deliver them from the enemy. Isaiah tried to warn them, but the people refused to listen.
Isaiah 30:8–10 (NLT) “Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness 9 that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the LORD’s instructions. 10 They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.”
The Mosaic law has no power over sin, it can only point it out. The law was therefore intended to point us to our Savior. In those days children had a guardian while they were young. The “tutor” had various responsibilities such as taking the children to school so they could learn, but eventually the day would come when the child would no longer need a tutor. That’s what the law was, a temporary school-master to bring us to Christ by showing us our sin and our need for forgiveness.
We mustn’t misunderstand Galatians 3:28 – of course we know that there are still racial, financial, and sexual differences, but this passage teaches us that none of those things create any spiritual advantage or disadvantage. We have all been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Most of us nowadays have no clue what it’s like to be a literal, actual slave. In the Roman world of Paul’s day, there were sixty-million slaves, and every single one of them knew the infinite difference between them and someone who was free. Until Jesus came, the whole world was in spiritual slavery, under bondage to sin and lawful religion, but when Jesus came, He set us free. If we place our faith in Christ, the chains are gone (John 8:35-36). This is what Paul is trying to teach the Galatians. In Christ, we are no longer slaves, we are children of God!
Why were the people going back to the bondage of rigorous religion?
Paul mentions the fact that they were turning again to religious rules and regulations (Galatians 4:9). Earlier in Galatians 1:9 Paul marveled that they were turning away so soon from Jesus! Paul was heartbroken and even afraid at the possibility that he had labored for them in vain, that he had wasted his time (Galatians 4:11).
Paul urged the people to return to Christ and His message and messenger. He reminded them of how it was in the beginning, the relationship they had when Paul first preached the Gospel to them. We don’t know all the details, but there was a day when they esteemed Paul to the extent that they would have plucked out their eyes and given them to Paul. Now they see him as their enemy simply because he’s telling them the truth (Galatians 4:16). The false teachers wanted to replace Paul, they wanted the people to be zealous for them.
I thought it was interesting that Paul was here laboring in birth “AGAIN” until Christ was formed in them (Galatians 4:19). It’s almost as if he was starting all over with them.
Paul goes on to give an allegorical example and explanation from Genesis 16 as to what was taking place from a Spiritual perspective (I encourage you to read that chapter if you can).
Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born from the bondwoman (Hagar), Isaac was born from the free woman (Sarah). Ishmael was born of the flesh (it was man) but Isaac was born of the promise (it was God). Ishmael corresponds to Mt. Sinai, where the law was given, Isaac corresponds to the heavenly Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, which gives birth to children who are born in liberty, who are spiritually rich, and who are freely empowered to be like their God (and Father). This is who Christians are.
Sandy Adams elaborates on this wonderful teaching, “Isaac was the result of God’s work, or grace. Ishmael was the result of man’s work, or legalism. Ishmael became jealous of Isaac and refused to let him live in peace. Likewise, the legalist is jealous of the believer who lives by grace. Paul is warning that there will be no rest for the Galatians until legalism and the legalist have been booted from the body.”
Twice in this Psalm David shares the fact that his soul waits silently for God. This doesn’t mean he didn’t pray (that’s what this Psalm is). It simply means he didn’t complain to others…he waited on God alone (Psalm 62:5).
It’s important to realize that God is our Rock, our defense, He alone is the one who will protect us from being moved (Psalm 62:6). God alone is our salvation, our glory, our strength, and our refuge (Psalm 62:7).
May we not put our trust in man, money, or make moves of manipulation, let’s not set our hearts on that (Psalm 62:10).
Instead let’s pour out our heart to God:
Psalm 62:8 (NKJV) “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”
Have you ever poured out your heart to God? It’s probably something we should do – every day.
We love our fellow man, but we mustn’t look to them as the ultimate source of help and peace. We can’t trust in man or money, even if it increases, we are not to set our hearts on it! God help us to look only to Him…power and mercy belongs only to Him (Psalm 62:11-12).
Proverbs 23:19-21 (NKJV) Hear, my son, and be wise; and GUIDE YOUR HEART in the way. 20 Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”
Don’t you just love the way he tells his son (and us) to GUIDE our hearts?
We are not to follow our heart, but guide it in the way.
And again, this is one of those Proverbs about how we are to choose our friends wisely; to keep good company. Not drunkards or gluttons – for the fruit of such friendships, will be drowsiness, laziness, leading to poverty in a variety of ways.
NET Notes, “…warning about poor associations. Drunkenness and gluttony represent the epitome of the lack of discipline. In the Mishnah they are used to measure a stubborn and rebellious son (m. Sanhedrin 8). W. G. Plaut notes that excessive drinking and eating are usually symptoms of deeper problems.”
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.