Woe to Jerusalem and Those Who Hide from God
The previous chapter (Isaiah 28) the prophet Isaiah pronounced a woe upon the drunkards especially among the rulers of Jerusalem. Now Isaiah has a woe upon the city itself.
Woe to Jerusalem
Jerusalem Under Distress, 29:1-4
The next woe is upon Ariel. It means “lion of God.” It is a symbolic term used to identify Jerusalem. This is not the city where David was from, but the city he lived and reigned. There is time for one more cycle of annual feasts before the Assyrians come and lay siege. The time of festivals will be turn into days of great distress. God through the Assyrians will be encamped against the city. A mound of earth will be piled up against the walls, war machines will be brought against Jerusalem’s fortifications. Mediums would use trickery of a low voice to fool their clients. Likewise, the people’s voices will be feeble while they suffered from the siege.
Jerusalem Delivered from the Multitudes, 29:5-8
After the woe comes a promise of hope. The enemies of Jerusalem will suddenly blow away like the dust or the chaff. But first God will use the Assyrians to punish them with earthquake, storms, and fire. Yet after the Assyrians are gone it will all seem like they have awoken from a bad dream. He likens the Assyrians hope of victory and plunder like a dream where they eat and drink, yet when they awake their hunger and thirst have not been satisfied at all.
Jerusalem’s Blind Ignorance, 29:9-14
The citizens of Jerusalem have blinded themselves to the understanding of God’s Will. They stagger like a drunk because of their ignorance. God has brought upon them a deep sleep by removing the seers and prophets. When men reject God’s messengers, they reject the Divine message and God. God has nothing left to do but to let them slumber in their own willful ignorance. As Paul wrote concerning the Romans, “and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Rom. 1:28). It is like they have been given a sealed book to read and cannot. For the literate will not read a sealed book, and the illiterate cannot read it.
The Lord explains the nature of their spiritual blindness. They may outwardly serve Him yet lack in sense of inward devotion. The problem is not with their eyes or education but with their hearts. They have heard the commandments of God through His servants. God will bring to nothing the wisdom of men, because they have rejected His Word which brings wisdom.
Woe to Those Who Hide from God, 29:15-24
Instead of seeking God’s counsel, those of Jerusalem will seek the aid of Egypt against the Assyrians. So while they openly submit to the Assyrian rule, they secretly revolt by sending to Egypt for help. Since God is the one sending the Assyrians, they are trying to hide their plans from not only the king of Assyrian but from the King of kings.
One day things will change. God will bring about the reforesting of Lebenon and the deaf and blind will have spiritual understanding. He will cause the humble and poor to rejoice in Him. Three enemies of a holy God and hindrances to spiritual grow will be removed: the terrible one, the scornful, and those seeking sin. These cause others to stumble in sin, ensnare the one who executes justice for the citizens, and those who use meaningless arguments against the righteous.
God remembers His covenant with Abraham and spares Jacob. God’s blessings will cause them to glorify Him. They will repent and regain the ability to discern the will of God.
Those who battle against God’s people can only dream of winning the war (29:7,8). No one is as blind as the man who refuse to see (29:9-12). God rejects outward religion which is not inwardly felt and/or originates from the traditions of men (29:13). It is folly to attempt to hide your plans from God (29:15,16). The wicked are hard at work trying to bring the righteous down to their level (29:20,21).
– Daniel R. Vess
Did All Your Sins Go Down the Drain?
A few years ago Hai and Gina Pham came back home from south Texas on a visit. They wanted Beverley and I to talk to their daughter, Syrene who wanted to know about being baptized. They had studied with her but wanted someone else to talk with her since she was only ten years old. I had the privilege of baptizing both of Syrene’s parents years earlier and was delighted to learn of the next generation preparing to obey the Gospel. After an hour and a half we all agreed she was a scriptural candidate for baptism. So off to the baptistry we went where her parents had been immersed some twenty years earlier.
While her father was baptizing Syrene I could not help but remember a conversation I had with her back when she was four years old. Hai and I were working around the baptistry when she asked if she could come up and sit on the steps and watch us. I told her it would be okay as long as she stayed there. Her father and I had been working in the ceiling above the baptistry earlier in the day and some white flakes from the ceiling tiles had peppered the water surface of the baptistry. Syrene asked, “Mr. Dan, can I ask you a question?” “Sure. What’s up?” I responded. In a serious tone she asked, “That white stuff floating on the water. Is that people’s sins from when they got baptized?”
Well, that is something to think about. What happens to our sins? The preacher Anaias told Saul the persecutor, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). So where do they go when God washes them away. Below are just a few verses which will help tell us what God does with those sins.
- “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
- “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ Says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Is. 1:18).
• “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you” (Is. 44:22).
- “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).
- “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
- “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17).
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
So based on what we have learned, God removes, makes them white as snow, blotted out like a thick cloud, cast into the sea, taken away, remembers no more, and cleanses all our sins. Sin is gone forever from our soul. That does not mean we can never sin again. It does mean that sin has not gone down the baptistry drain. After all I have never had to call a plumber out to clear the sins that were stopping up the church plumbing.
– Daniel R. Vess