I think humans have a default toward tribal thinking. We view "us" as superior and more cherished than "them". I don't think most people will agree that they, personally, are prone to it; but it shows up in a hundred different way in life. I spotted that thinking in myself when I saw that the next oracle wasn't a terrible foreign enemy, but our Jerusalem. This should remind us that when we act like the enemies of God, we shouldn't be surprised to find ourselves on a list that includes those we're acting like.
It seems like this chapter is related to the events immediately before, during, and/or after the reign of Hezekiah.
This oracle is concerning "the valley of vision". I wonder if this is because Jerusalem in on high ground, with good vision.
Ryrie states that it is also surrounded by mountains, making the "valley" part make more sense.
MacArthur states that it's a sort of play on words. The Lord speaks to Israel in visions, but they lack the vision to understand what's going on.
- Isaiah asks what is wrong with them that they have all gone to the rooftops.
- who had been full of noise, boisterous, exuberant
- your slain were not slain with sword or in battle (so, probably, starvation or disease)
- the ruler have fled and have been captured without the bow
- you fled but were all captured together far away
I think it is still Isaiah speaking in verse 4.
- turn your eyes away from me
- let me weep bitterly
- don't try and comfort me
For the Lord God of hosts has a day of panic, subjugation, and confusion in the valley of vision, a breaking down of walls and a crying to the mountain.Isaiah 22:5
I'm on the social media site, Twitter, pretty frequently. And there's always people on the progressive left who try to tell Christians who God is and how we should behave if we are "real Christians". All love and light and acceptance in a fictional self-help story, based on a single verse or a misconception altogether.
Let's take a look at another single verse, Isaiah 22:5 above. God is Love and Light; but also Righteousness and Judgement. If you don't know that... If you haven't dug in and explored His whole story...then I suggest that you not try and explain God to a Christian. We know that we deserve the panic, subjugation, confusion, breaking down, and crying mentioned in the verse. We earn that wrath with our sins. That is the first step in an eternal relationship with the Lord of hosts. Acknowledging that we earned wrath.
Blessedly for us, we also have the choice to return to the Lord under His terms. Faith in salvation through Jesus.
You'll never understand Jesus and the Christian walk or the Christian doctrine if you don't understand your own sin.
Back to the text. In verse 6 we see Elam (Persia) with the quiver, chariots, infantry, and horsemen. Suddenly Jerusalem will be facing valleys full of chariots and horsemen at the gate.
And He removed the defense of Judah...Isaiah 22:8a
We have such rebellious hearts. God asks for everything; but we often choose self. We don't want to admit that we're being rebellious. We want it to be ok that we're doing what we know in hearts to be wrong. It seems like that's what Judah was doing. God was providing a defense, but Judah took their ongoing safety as something they had done- not giving glory and obedience to the Lord. Verses 8-11:
- you depended on the weapons of the house of the forest (Solomon's building meant as a weapons and valuable vault)
- you saw the breaches in the walls of Jerusalem (which Hezekiah has repaired in faith)
- collect water from the lower pool (fed by Hezekiah's pool, found by faith)
- counted the houses and them tore them down to fortify the wall (not showing faith)
- made a reservoir between the walls for the waters of the old pools (relying on "self")
But you did not depend on Him who made it, nor did you take into consideration Him who planned it long ago.Isaiah 22:11b
What was the lie from the enemy that Eve talked herself into believing?
I know best what I need. I can provide for myself better than God can.
Leads to devastation every time.
We see God's provision and then try and duplicate it rather than submit to Him with praise and supplication.
The leaders of Judah put significant energy into the wrong things: weapons from the forest cache, instead of trusting in the Lord; but then fixing the breaches by tearing down homes. Then trying to secure a water supply apart from the One who gave them their famous, secure water supply. Focused on controlling their world instead of acknowledging the One actually in control.
Verse 12: Therefore in that day the Lord God of hosts, called you to weeping, to wailing, shaved heads, and sackcloth.
Verse 13: But you didn't choose mourning. You choose joy and gladness. Slaughtering many animals to celebrate. "Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we may die."
If you don't believe in the eternal; then you don't have any incentive to operate out of eternal values.
Verse 14: The Lord of hosts tells Isaiah that this is an unforgivable sin until they die.
There were a few times in my life when I determined that I was old enough and smart enough to make my own decisions. After high school I wanted to go to CU-Boulder. I wanted to leave my small town and be swallowed up by a big city. I wanted a prestigious school to validate my high opinion of myself. I wanted what I wanted and felt like it was my decision to make. My parents informed me that I could not afford CU, even with substantial scholarships. They worried about such a big campus. They wanted me to accept the scholarships to a state college- smaller, cheaper, and yes, much less prestigious.
I must have been whining about it to my track and cross country coaches because they came to me together and offered to co-sign on the student loans required to go to CU. They wanted me to chase my dream and go somewhere "worthy" of the academic effort I'd put into my high school years.
I don't remember the conversation I had with my folks where I must have shared that news update; but I distinctly and will forever remember the conversation I had with my dad after I had weighed my options and relented to go to the far less favorable state school. He said, "That's good because it would have been the last dime we ever gave you."
If I was going to accept the advice, support, and quasi-financial assistance from my coaches over his...then that was the last advice, support, or financial support I would have received from him. And don't think for a second he would have ever relented if he had pulled that trigger. His yes means yes and his no means no.
I held that against him for a long time. Mostly because I was shocked and devastated that he had this severe and permanent consequence in mind, but didn't share it with me in my decision-making. He was fine with me running off of a cliff that looked like a road.
However, reading this passage and thinking about all God does for us...all He has created, sustained, and redeemed for us...and thinking about ignoring that and following the advise of the world. Trying to provide for myself instead of relying on His provision so that I won't have to submit and obey. Wanting my way more than His...I get it. I expected my father to be wiser, less petty, less vicious. But I didn't think about the profound hurt and rage that would come with his daughter snubbing him for a couple of coaches who had done nothing compared to the investment and sacrifice he had made for her.
That particular story of my dad and me ended well; but I suspect I've lost a lot of blessings over the years by ignoring my heavenly Father while trying to create my own water supply.
Back to the text. The Lord God of hosts continues to send direct communication through Isaiah beginning in verse 15.
- go to Shebna, the steward in charge of the royal household (representing all worldly leaders)
- what right do you have to make for yourself a fancy, expensive mountain tomb?
- the Lord is about to hurl you headlong, rolled into a ball and thrown into a vast country
- there you will die
- and there your splendid chariots will be
- you are shame of your master's house
- God will pull you down from your office and station (He actually gets demoted from the number 2 most powerful man, steward to the king to just scribe or secretary)
- Then I will replace you with my servant Eliakim
- He will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah
Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when He opens no one will shut, when He shuts no one will open. And I will drive Him like a peg in a firm place, and He will become a throne of glory to His Father's house.Isaiah 22:22-23
Blue letter bible defines the name of Eliakim as "God raises" or "God sets up" and as the son of Hilkiah, he was the master of Hezekiah's household. I stopped and looked it up because verses 22-23 seem pretty strong candidates for prophesy about Jesus and I wanted to see how much the rest of that passage did.
So, Shebna was a disloyal steward of the royal household who was more concerned with his own infamy than doing his job. Ryrie tells us that in chapters 30-31 we'll learn that he is a leader of the pro-Egypt party. He was busy building a mountain carved tomb for himself, like he was royalty, but he would die in captivity.
God will graphically remove this man from his station in life and his office and replace him with a man whose name means "God raises" or "God sets up." It's worth remembering that God cares how we do our job. And He noticed when we go about our own business and reputation when we should be pursuing His. Also, He raises up servants. Not just leaders or heroes, but also servants. All jobs are important when done unto the Lord.
Ryrie cross references this with Matthew 16:19, in which Jesus is speaking to Peter about his new coming authority in Jesus' new church.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Matthew 16:19
Also cross-referenced is Revelations 3:7-8 in which the angel of the church of Philadelphia tells them that Jesus has the keys of David and opened a door to them that no one can shut because they have kept His word and did not deny His name.
The chapter ends with
So they will hang on Him all the glories of His Father's house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from the bowls to all the jars. In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg driven in a firm place will give way; it will even break off and fall, and the load hanging on in will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.Isaiah 22:24-25
I am confident that this is continuing prophesy about Jesus, and I don't understand most of how it applies; but I strongly suspect that when the nailed peg breaks off and falls is the beginning of a new covenant. For the Lord has spoken.