The Condemnation of Man’s Kingdoms Isaiah 1-39, cont’d.
Isaiah 24-27 The Establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth, cont’d.
Isaiah 27:1-The words “In that day…” bring us back to the theme of chapters 24-27…the Establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth. Who, or what, is “Leviathan”?
- The LORD, with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent: The ultimate triumph of the LORD in the day of the Messiah is expressed in victory over Leviathan the fleeing serpent.
- Some make the connection between Leviathan and ancient myths of nations near Israel. "The language used draws on mythology; but this need cause us no serious problem. Writers, whether of Scripture or otherwise, frequently use illustrative material, drawing that material from a wide variety of sources: nature, history, mythology, or literature. The use of mythology her simply shows that Isaiah and his readers knew the mythological stories, not that they believed them. If a modern historian referred to a fierce and aggressive nation as 'a great dragon,' would his readers assume he believed in the objective existence of such creatures? Surely not!" (Grogan)
- "The term as used here is normally linked with the Ugaritic Lotan, the chaos monster destroyed by Baal in the Canaanite creation myth … the term may be applied figuratively to monstrous enemies of Israel and of God." (Grogan)
iii. While there is an illustrative element here, Isaiah may be more literal than many would like to admit. If Satan could manifest himself as a serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden, why not also manifest himself as a dreadful sea-dragon?
- What do we know about Leviathan from this passage? We know that Leviathan is identified with a serpent. We know that Leviathan is resisting God (fleeing … twisting; twisting has the idea of coiling, as if it were ready to strike). We know that Leviathan is connected with the sea. And we know that Leviathan's destiny is to be destroyed by the LORD.
- What do we know about Leviathan from other passages of Scripture? Leviathan is referred to in passages like Job 3:8, Job 41, Psalm 74:14, and Psalm 104:26. These passages reinforce the idea of Leviathan as a mighty, serpent-like creature, connected with the sea, who resists God and will be crushed by the LORD.
- We are familiar with the reference to Satan as a serpent (Genesis 3:1-5), but here the picture is of a sea-serpent or a perhaps what we would know as a dragon. This reference may be a literal reference, and at some point in history, either past or present, Satan may manifest himself as monster connected with the sea. Certainly, Revelation uses this imagery in describing the emergence of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-4).
- Essentially, Isaiah prophesies the ultimate defeat of Satan when the Kingdom of the Messiah conquers all (He will slay the reptile).
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 27,
Isaiah 27:2-6-“In that day” Israel will be reestablished and the Lord will (:3)…
- Care for Israel
- Protect Israel
- Guard Israel.
The result is that Israel will blossom and grow, and be a blessing to the whole world (:6).
The Lord has not treated Israel as He has other countries. Instead, He has shown mercy…
- by not striking Israel as severely has He has struck other countries when they went astray (:7). Their banishment to Babylon was His chastening (:8)
- by covering their sin (:9a)
- by destroying their false idols and images (:9b).
Isaiah 27:10-11-The “fortified city” represents the world system. It is fallen and destroyed like a tree…its limbs being worth nothing more than stubble for a fire.
Isaiah 27:12-13-These verses describe the further regathering of the Jewish people (cf. Matthew 24:31) to Jerusalem.
Isaiah 28-33 The Condemnation of Judah and Israel’s Kingdoms
Isaiah 28 begins an eight-chapter section (28-35) mostly directed to the southern kingdom of Judah. Since it is often most effective to address a sin present in a third party, and then apply it directly to the person, Isaiah will first speak of the sin of Israel, then switch the focus to Judah.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 28,
Isaiah 28:1-8-These verses speak of God’s judgment on the northern kingdom of Israel, Samaria (Ephraim represents it because it was its chief tribe). One of their more significant sins was drunkenness. Even the priests and the prophets had become addicted to alcohol (:7).
Isaiah 28:9-15-God says that because the people have not responded to what He has told them before, He will only give them additional understanding a little at a time..."Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there" (:10,13).
Isaiah 28:11-Isaiah says that since the people have not listened to the clearly articulated warning that God has given to them...He will use Assyria to conquer Israel as a sign of His judgment ("He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue"). This method of God's warning (judgment) will be unmistakably identifiable and clear. Paul quotes verse 11 in 1 Corinthians 14:21 to show that tongues are a sing of rebuke to unbelievers (cf. Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on 28:11, p. 1051).
Isaiah 28:15-Those who preferred to make an alliance with Assyria were willing to make a “covenant with death…with Sheol we have made a pact”, rather than trusting in God. They were confident that the death and destruction of God’s judgment that was coming would not reach them. Somehow they thought that they would escape it.
Isaiah 28:16-19-Isaiah says that the only real security from God’s judgment comes through the Messiah.
28:16 Messiah is a foundation stone in His atonement, a tested stone in His temptations, and a costly cornerstone in His relationship to His people. See 8:14; Psalm 118:22; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:6.
Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on 28:16, p. 1052
- Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation: In contrast to the weak, narrow foundation of the wicked (we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves), God has a solid foundation for our lives -a stone for a foundation.
- What is this foundation? 1 Peter 2:6 applies this passage directly to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is the foundation for our lives, and only with a secure, stable foundation can anything lasting be built. Anything "added on" to the house, not built upon the foundation, is sure to end up in wreckage.
- Who lays this stone? Behold, I lay in Zion. It is God's work. We are unable to provide the right kind of foundation for our lives, but God can lay a foundation for us. We are asked to behold God's foundation, appreciate it, wonder at it, value it, and build our lives upon it.
- A tried stone: Our Messiah was tried, was tested, and was proven to be the glorious, obedient Son of God in all things.
- A precious cornerstone: Our Messiah is precious, and a cornerstone. The cornerstone provides the lines, the pattern for all the rest of the construction. The cornerstone is straight and true, and everything in the entire building lines up in reference to the cornerstone.
- A sure foundation: Our Messiah is a sure foundation, and we can build everything on Him without fear.
- Justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet: In God's building, it isn't just as if He establishes the cornerstone and then walks away and allows the building to be built any way it pleases. Instead, He keeps the building straight with justice and righteousness.
- The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place: The ungodly leaders of Jerusalem made lies their refuge, and found a hiding place under falsehood (Isaiah 28:15). But the storms of life and God's judgment would sweep away their refuge of lies and their hiding place. They had built on the wrong foundation, and would therefore see destruction.
- Your covenant with death will be annulled: The ungodly leaders of Jerusalem thought they made a "deal with death," but will find that God will annul their covenant with death. When His scourge of judgment comes, they will surely be trampled down by it.
- And the scourge of judgment will not touch them lightly. Morning by morning and by day and by night they will feel the sting of God's correction.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 28,
Isaiah 28:20-22-These words are a warning to the rulers of Jerusalem that they were in a very precarious position that could not be sustained (:20), and that they could not win a fight with God (:21). They should not continue their denial of God’s judgment and their accountability.
Isaiah 28:33-29-Even as the farmer times the maintenance of his crops, God times His judgment.
Prayer: Lord, Israel thought that because they were the chosen people that they were somehow exempted them from judgment of sin. They became proud and arrogant. Please Lord…don’t let me ever presume upon Your grace. Help me to know that there is forgiveness of sin…but to never try to use it to my advantage. Help me to live a life that is honoring and pleasing to You.