A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
The entire section from 28:1 - 35:10, contains a series of 6 woes,
concluding with another prophesy of God's judgment against the nations and another song of praise for God's coming deliverance of His people.
The pride and self-centered indulgence of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) is denounced
, and the people who should have found their security and fulfillment in knowing and serving God (28:12) but have instead become lost in their own unworthy pleasures and pursuits are condemned.
In 28:23-29, Isaiah reminds his readers that even in God's judgment is redemption
. Like a farmer who plows his field with the ultimate goal of planting and harvesting a beautiful and worthy crop, so God in breaking up the proud self-sufficiency of His people has more than punishment in mind: they are to become the illustration and embodiment of His gracious love and to become more blessed in the end than they were at the beginning (and certainly in the middle) of the process.
Chapter 29 brings the 2nd woe, this time against the city of Jerusalem
or more precisely, those who rely on religious practice and presume upon the grace of God in order to ignore His will for their lives and relationships. The theme which recurs in both Old and New Testaments is announced: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
The 3rd woe is found in 29:15, this time against those who pretend allegiance to God
but in truth trust only in themselves and their own secret
schemes. When God's judgment comes, those who have been unable to grasp who He is or what His plan is for their lives, either because they were rebellious or ignorant with suddenly realize how important is God's place and how absolute is His plan.
Again God's grace becomes clearer as even the wayward will be redeemed
(29:24). The 4th
woe (in chapter 30) is another directed against those who claim to be committed to God but are really not.
God's willingness to restore the fallen, rebuild what has been ruined and redeem those
who have lost their way or been oppressed is such a strong theme throughout the first 39 chapters of Isaiah that it has to be encouraging. Yet how easy it can be to focus only on the judgment and punishment which are promised in the same sections!
Our life with God is not oppressive; it is invigorating B if we truly pay attention
to all He says and promises! What have you faced, or what do you face this week that invites you to give up hope and walk away from faith? Read Isaiah 43 and apply the promises to your own life. They are for you and me even today, 2,700 years after Isaiah first began to prophesy.
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010