Isaiah 27-28: Salvation and Judgment
September 10, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
In Isaiah 27 God speaks comfort to his people about their upcoming deliverance from the Assyrian army. This comfort is spoken of in a more general way, such that it can apply to us and encourage us. In Christ, there is rescue from our ultimate enemy, and there is safety and redemption in him. Leviathan is punished (27:1), and at the same time God’s vineyard, his people, is watched over and protected (27:2). He keeps it “night and day” (27:3). And in days to come his people shall blossom and fill the whole world with fruit (27:6). But despite all these great promises, his people had not responded, and so (27:11) there will be a time—a time of exile—which will be followed by a time of return from exile (27:13).
Isaiah 28 has much warning and judgment which is good for us to heed and use to urge us towards faithfulness to God. There is a remnant still, and to them he is a crown of glory, a diadem of beauty (28:5). To God’s faithful people, God himself is infinitely precious and glorious and beautiful. But the unfaithful leaders go from bad to worse, reeling with “strong drink,” “swallowed by wine,” their “tables full of filthy vomit” (28:7-8). And therefore, God’s judgment will be that his word becomes nonsense to them (28:10, 13). As these “precepts upon precepts” might be translated: God’s word becomes blah-blah-blah. They can’t hear; they can’t understand. It’s just meaningless jargon to them. It’s a foreign language to them, whether literally or in terms of their understanding of it. Either the preachers are speaking gobbledygook, or the people are hearing clear preaching with their fingers in their ears, speaking loudly at the same time saying, “I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Whether preacher or people, or both, God’s word in this stage of judgment becomes just a bunch of meaningless rules.
Yet there is a remnant. And in Zion there is a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation (28:16). Salvation is offered for those who will believe. But for those who refuse it, it will be like lying on a bed when the bedclothes don’t fit, constantly tossing and turning and unable to get comfortable (28:20), or it will be like being threshed and ploughed over (28:27). But even that image has hope: the ploughing does not go on forever (28:28), and there will be a time when God’s people return from exile.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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