Prophecies against Israel: Isaiah 13-23 (6)
Pray Psalm 36.5-7.
Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Read Isaiah 22, 23.
1. Pride and misplaced trust are the primary sins bringing the judgment of God in these chapters. How do you see that?
2. How can you see that Eliakim is a type of Christ?
Jerusalem’s moat (vv. 9-11) is a symbol of everything that had gone wrong in the nation. They were trusting in their own devices rather than in the Lord. They respected their own judgments above His. Now they would reap the consequences of such foolish choices: “trouble and treading down and perplexity” (v. 5). The vision of vv. 1-14 is of scattering, destruction, weeping, mourning, and destitution. This is where sin leads us.
Shebna’s sin was the hubris of supposing he should be buried in the temple of the Lord (v. 16), like the kings of Judah, who were buried in a designated place of honor. In this he presumed on the Lord and overstepped the bounds of his calling as high priest. No priest before him had taken such a bold step, and now he would be replaced by Eliakim.
But there is a larger purpose to this, a purpose intended to send a word of hope to the people. Look at the way Eliakim is described in verses 20-24. He will be a “father” to the people – not just a priest, but a ruler as well. Hezekiah was king at this point, and a good king at that. But Isaiah pointed to Eliakim as “peg in a secure place” and “a glorious throne to his father’s house” (v. 23). He will wield the “key of the house of David” and serve as gatekeeper to the Lord’s covenant with him (v. 22). Isaiah seems to be pointing forward to another day and a greater One than Eliakim, although by attributing these roles to Eliakim, he points to a greater Eliakim to come. And when that Eliakim comes, “in that day” (v. 25), the actual role of Eliakim as high priest will be eliminated, for there will be no more need of that office when the true Eliakim comes to rule.
The city state of Tyre (ch. 23) was the Hong Kong of its day. It did business everywhere and with everyone. It prospered and was strong militarily, since it was protected by the sea. The people of Judah might have been tempted to think that they could be saved by commerce, diplomacy, and military might, like Tyre and Sidon. Wrong again.
1. Are Christians today tempted to put too much trust in material things and favorable conditions? Explain.
2. Eliakim never fulfilled the roles Isaiah prophesied about him, and this suggests Isaiah was pointing forward to one like Eliakim – a high priest – who would also have the keys to the Kingdom of David. How do you suppose the people of Isaiah’s day might have puzzled over this prophecy? Why was it needed at just this time?
3. Pride, self-seeking, trusting in material prowess, compromising with unbelieving ways, turning away from the Lord and trusting in our own devices: these are the sins that brought the judgment of God against the nations in Isaiah’s day. Should we expect God to do the same in our day? How should we prepare for this?
On you, then, he will bring these things; but on the other, Eliakim, whom he has assessed as his good servant and slave, he will invest with your robe and will honor by placing on him the crown of the high priesthood, whose ministry you had hitherto been entrusted with. For he is a man worthy of it. And since he has been promoted by God, unlike you he will not be proud and boastful. He will hold the place of a father toward all those who are going to be governed by him. Therefore, as to one who is soothing and gentle, [God] will give the glory of David, the most just and gentle king, in order to rule the people with great authority, so that none will gainsay his deeds. Eusebius of Caesarea ( 260-340 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 148.6-20
Protect me, Lord, against the temptation to trust in things or circumstances or my own best ideas, rather than to…
Pray Psalm 36.
This psalm begins and ends with a focus on the wicked. In between it’s all about seeking the Lord. Linger over the verses of this psalm as you pray, and let the Spirit speak into your soul and the day ahead.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 36 (Landas: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Transgression speaks within the heart of him who fears not God.
He swells with pride to flaunt his sin and boasts in wicked words.
He ceases to be good or wise; he plots a wicked way.
His pathway is unrighteousness and evil all the day.
Your lovingkindness, Lord, is great, it reaches heav’n above;
Your faithfulness mounts to the skies, and keeps us in Your love.
Your righteousness like mountains high and judgment like the deep
preserve Your creatures one and all and in Your mercy keep.
How precious is Your love, O Lord; we shelter in Your wings.
We drink refreshment to the full from Your abundant springs.
You give us freely of Your grace, we drink it with delight;
life’s fountain is with You, O Lord, in Your light we see light.
O let Your love continue, Lord, to those who love You well.
Grant righteousness to all who trust and Your salvation tell.
Keep wickedness and pride away; Lord, keep us in Your grace!
For sinners fall before Your wrath, rejected from Your face.
T. M. Moore
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Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).