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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Isaiah 22 : A Prophecy About Jerusalem

      This chapter deals with the siege and taking of Jerusalem, and the wicked and sinful conduct of its inhabitants. The displacement of the high court steward, Shebna, and the promotion of Eliakim who was destined to be the peg driven into a 'firm place,' although in time he too would fall.
      The 'Valley of Vision' refers to the city of Jerusalem, where God revealed Himself. Unless the people repented and returned to God they would be attacked, but in the event they attempted to use every means of protection possible other than asking God for help. Isaiah had issued them with a warning but this did not make them repent, and so God's judgement would fall upon them.
      Often today there are people who need help and will ignore all of our efforts to help them, trying out everything other than what we suggest, and all too often it ends in disaster for them and they suffer the very grief that we were trying to shield them from. God expects us to be involved with other people, even though this sometime means that we are called to suffer with them.
      Finally, when all of their methods failed, the people gave up hope and said, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"  Instead of repenting and looking to the Lord they chose to feast instead, compounding their sinfulness. the lesson for today is that we too should turn to God when we are in need, trusting in His power to protect us from all things. How often we see people who have given up hope, and become self-pitying and despairing. However, the reality is always that, no matter what we face in this life, we have always got our hope in Christ to hold onto, for there is more for us that this current life. We must never act as though there is no hope, because hope is always there for us to cling to. The correct response for us in every situation is to trust God and to trust in His promises.

1 A prophecy against the Valley of Vision:
   What troubles you now,
   that you have all gone up on the roofs,
2 you town so full of commotion,
   you city of tumult and revelry?
Your slain were not killed by the sword,
   nor did they die in battle.
3 All your leaders have fled together;
   they have been captured without using the bow.
All you who were caught were taken prisoner together,
   having fled while the enemy was still far away.
4 Therefore I said, “Turn away from me;
   let me weep bitterly.
Do not try to console me
   over the destruction of my people.”
5 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day
   of tumult and trampling and terror
   in the Valley of Vision,
a day of battering down walls
   and of crying out to the mountains.
6 Elam takes up the quiver,
   with her charioteers and horses;
   Kir uncovers the shield.
7 Your choicest valleys are full of chariots,
   and horsemen are posted at the city gates.
8 The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah,
   and you looked in that day
   to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest.
9 You saw that the walls of the City of David
   were broken through in many places;
you stored up water
   in the Lower Pool.
10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
   and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
11 You built a reservoir between the two walls
   for the water of the Old Pool,
but you did not look to the One who made it,
   or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.
12 The Lord, the LORD Almighty,
   called you on that day
to weep and to wail,
   to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.
13 But see, there is joy and revelry,
   slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,
   eating of meat and drinking of wine!
“Let us eat and drink,” you say,
   “for tomorrow we die!”
14 The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
15 This is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says:
   “Go, say to this steward,
   to Shebna the palace administrator:
16 What are you doing here and who gave you permission
   to cut out a grave for yourself here,
hewing your grave on the height
   and chiseling your resting place in the rock?
17 “Beware, the LORD is about to take firm hold of you
   and hurl you away, you mighty man.
18 He will roll you up tightly like a ball
   and throw you into a large country.
There you will die
   and there the chariots you were so proud of
   will become a disgrace to your master’s house.
19 I will depose you from your office,
   and you will be ousted from your position.
20 “In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah.
21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah.
22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
23 I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat of honour for the house of his father.
24 All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.
25 “In that day,” declares the LORD Almighty, “the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down.” The LORD has spoken.

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