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Isaiah 3 (Judah)

I was so excited to be back in my Old testament reading, that I decided to squeeze in one more chapter before returning to my semester bible studies. My last post was Isaiah 2, which is the first chapter in a complete vison that spans through chapter 4 or 5.

At the end of chapter 2, the Lord shows us plainly,

Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed.

Isaiah 2:22

And to even further make the point that it is God to be feared, not man, in chapter 3 He uses a powerful name of God, Lord God of Hosts, and explains that He is removing the fundamental supports He has provided for man's life in Jerusalem: bread and water.

It should mystify nonbelievers that everything we need is on this planet where the humans are: soil, animals, water, and even the elements to make the medicines and technologies that provide the comforts of our modern life. We keep looking and finding what we need.

That's because He supports us. It's His creation and we are His people- if we chose to believe.

But...the people in chapter 3 are in the midst of the tribulation and did not choose to believe. They now know who He is, but still refuse to call on His name for Salvation (Revelations 6).

So bread and water will be removed from Jerusalem. And the men that have been so revered will be brought so low that they will be ruled over by children. The people will be oppressed. And they will turn on one another. Young against the old; neighbor against neighbor; inferior against the honorable.

Yikes. That last bit sounds like the U.S. right now. Everyone against everyone. And the inferior are making nation-changing rules while censoring the honorable. I think God leaves signs in every generation, so that we will take seriously that Jesus could come back at anytime. And there are plenty of those these days.

As for the ruled by children, the prophesy, as applied to that time also came true. Manasseh was 12 when he became king.

Starting in verse 6, Isaiah describes a situation in which one brother would try to force a second brother into being head of the household because the second brother had a cloak, which was more than the first brother had. The second brother would protest saying, "I will not be your healer." and would refuse to lead.

We know there's never a dearth of those who want to lead. Not necessarily good leaders, but there are always those attracted to some aspect of leading--whether is be the power or prestige or the influence or the hope of making a real difference. But by this point in the tribulation, there will be nothing attractive about leadership.

I am intrigued by the "I will not be your healer." response from the second brother. The first brother didn't ask for healing...He almost seem to imply they wanted the one with the biggest reserves to lead...so I could see if the second brother said, "I don't want to be your provider." Or storehouse. Or even if the concept is that he has a cloak because he is the strongest and most fit for survival. But healer?

According to Blue Letter Bible, the phrase is habas and implies a binding or bandage.

So, that makes more sense. "I'm not going to hold you together."

That's the interesting thing about the Darwinian idea of human evolution, only the strong survive. It doesn't say that the strong make the best leaders; put your faith in them. It says they survive- probably by eating the weak.

Anyway, no one will want to lead in these days.

In verse 8 Isaiah reminds them why things have gotten this bad, their speech and actions are against the Lord. We should be thanking Him everyday that we have food and water and technology and protection from a zillion things that could wipe us out. But we pat ourselves on the back and go about our day. And it's not just nations or societies, but individuals.

Verse 9 points out that they don't even try to hide it. I've though that in our modern society. Evil and all of the same problems have always existed; but just a few decades ago, they still prayed in school and used the Bible in school. There was an assumption that Christians were the majority. I see the downside of this, as many were social Christians, meaning not at all. And many were hypocrites; but the Bible and righteousness still had a place in society. Nowadays, you're a bigot if you don't want drag queen story hour in the library. Maybe that is better. Maybe it's good to plainly see who is for God and who is against Him.

Verses 10 and 11 show the faithfulness of God. Do well and it will go well; do poorly and it will go poorly. He says it in Deuteronomy, Joshua, the Kings, the Chronicles, as Judah was falling, and in the end times. His message hasn't changed.

And then the Lord will arise and judge the people. He will point out how they plundered the poor, devoured the vineyard, and crushing His people.

In His fairness, the lord makes clear that this isn't just the men who caused this or will suffer the judgement. In verse 16-26, the women's portion is revealed. They are proud, seductive, and work to bring attention to themselves. A footnote in the Ryrie Study Bible says they were trying to seduce other women's husbands.

In return, they will lose their beauty. Both through physical affliction, like scabs, and all of the adornments they use- bracelets, headbands, jewelry, fancy clothes, coats, money purses, etc. Instead they will smell, be bound, have their hair pulled out, sackcloth, branding, and they will lose their men to the sword.

And her gates will lament and mourn; and deserted she will sit on the ground.

Isaiah 3:26

Isaiah 2:22 asks why man should be esteemed. Chapter three makes the answer so clear. He should not. Only the Lord is worthy.

Be Comforted, Warren Wiersbe (Commentary on Isaiah)

Wiersbe makes many of the same points as above for this chapter; but does emphasize that in verse 16-26 the women who profited from their men's crimes would also be severely punished. At first glance, that seem unfair. But what could they have done differently? They could have taken care of the poor. They could have done as David's wife, Abigail, did, they could have done what was right with what they were given.

We're responsible to God as individuals. There will be no hiding behind anyone else on judgement day. Not that there are mitigating circumstances; but seeing how the Lord knows everything, those will be properly and perfectly accounted for.

Thank you, Jesus.

The MacArthur Bible Commentary

Multiple sources, including MacArthur, emphasize the names Isaiah uses here,

  • Adonai- The Lord. The sovereign Lord of all
  • Lord of hosts- militaristic and warlike, mighty in power

In Conclusion

It's always a lot to take in. And hard to read.

But it's what it finally takes for us to take our eyes off of man and onto the lord.

And then you have a choice.

He is going to clean up HIs holy city and collect every last believer as He dies it.

Amen.

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