Isaiah 27 -- 31
The magnificent and beautiful Northern Kingdom of Israel was enjoying prosperity when Isaiah proclaimed the coming Assyrian captivity: Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim (the 10 tribes), whose glorious beauty is a fading flower. . . . Behold, the Lord has a . . . destroying storm. . . . Ephraim shall be trodden under foot (Isaiah 28:1-3).
Isaiah did not attempt to please the people by trying not to offend them. He boldly warned the Northern Kingdom that they would be destroyed because they had turned to idols, given themselves over to self-indulgence, and rejected the Word of God. The people of Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, were enjoying the luxury of summer and winter homes, ivory palaces, a wealth of gardens, vineyards, fig and olive orchards, houses of hewn stone . . . beds of ivory, and its people anointed themselves with the finest ointments (Amos 5:11; 6:4,6; see also I Kings 22:39; Amos 3:15; 4:9).
Samaria's beauty was likened to a fading flower; but, far more horrifying, the prophet foretold the nation's complete destruction: Ephraim shall be trodden under -- helpless to withstand the fierce and cruel Assyrian army. However, like most God-rejecting people today, they did not believe the warning.
The prophet was then led to prophesy against the Southern Kingdom of Judah, which he condemned for following the example of Samaria. Judah added to its sin by making a secret military alliance with Egypt. The prophet proclaimed this as a refuge of lies . . . a covenant with death . . . an agreement with hell . . . you shall be trodden down by it (Isaiah 28:17-18). Isaiah appealed to his people to repent of their sins and place their faith in the Lord and His Word -- as reliable and unchangeable as the "foundation stone" of Solomon's Temple (I Kings 5:17; 6:37; I Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20). Some of the Temple stones are still there, measuring up to 50 feet long and eight feet square, and weighing more than a hundred tons. Once again, Isaiah prophesied the coming of Christ: Behold, I lay in Zion for a Foundation Stone, a tried (well tested) Stone, a precious Cornerstone, a Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16). All who place their faith and trust in Christ will find Him to be a Sure Foundation upon which to build their lives.
Times and circumstances change; but the fact is that every God-rejecting sinner is trusting in a refuge of lies. The drunkard believes he can drink alcohol or leave it and will quit before he is ruined; the gambler believes he can stake his money just one more time and become a winner; and the liar is sure that God does not mean that all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8). Both the fornicator and the adulterer believe they surely will not suffer the consequences of their sins; and the dishonest person and the thief are sure they have chosen shortcuts to success. They all are deceived and convinced that they are the exception to the truth of the Word of God and are too good to be cast into the lake of fire . . . tormented day and night for ever and ever (20:10). However, everyone who rejects Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, along with His indwelling power to overcome sin, has actually chosen other gods. Regardless of his wealth, importance, or good deeds, he is deceived and has unknowingly made a covenant with death and shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-24).
There is no greater human need than to know that God does forgive our sins, which have thwarted His purpose for creating our lives.
The Lord is . . . longsuffering . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).
As a tried Stone, a precious Cornerstone, a Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16). Jesus became the chief Cornerstone (Matt. 21:42-46; Acts 4:10-12; Rom. 9:29-33; Eph. 2:20-22; I Pet. 2:6-8).
27:1 piercing means swift; 27:12 beat off means to handpick His "harvest;" 28:4 hasty fruit means first ripe fig; 28:21 strange means awesome, unusual; 28:22 bands be made strong means punishment be made greater; 29:1 Ariel means the lion city of Jerusalem; 30:1 cover with a covering means make an alliance; 30:3 confusion means humiliation, your undoing; 30:6 bunches means humps; 30:24 ear means plow; clean provender means good fodder; 31:3 holpen means helped; 31:8 be discomfited means become slaves, forced labor.
Government Official: Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC) · BPM Staff: Steve Williams · Pray for Bible Pathway Prayer Partners · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Maxine Spoelhof · Country: Zaire (38 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom · 42% Roman Catholic; 28% Protestant; 12% magical practices, ancestor worship, and witchcraft; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Depend upon the Holy Spirit to help you in your prayers (Romans 8:26-27).
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 1:8