Read Isaiah 10
10 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.
God’s Judgment on Assyria
5 “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
6 I send him against a godless nation,
I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
to seize loot and snatch plunder,
and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7 But this is not what he intends,
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
to put an end to many nations.
8 ‘Are not my commanders all kings?’ he says.
9 ‘Has not Kalno fared like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad,
and Samaria like Damascus?
10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols,
kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images
as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?’”
12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. 13 For he says:
“‘By the strength of my hand I have done this,
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;
like a mighty one I subdued their kings.
14 As one reaches into a nest,
so my hand reached for the wealth of the nations;
as people gather abandoned eggs,
so I gathered all the countries;
not one flapped a wing,
or opened its mouth to chirp.’”
15 Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it,
or the saw boast against the one who uses it?
As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up,
or a club brandish the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors;
under his pomp a fire will be kindled
like a blazing flame.
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,
their Holy One a flame;
in a single day it will burn and consume
his thorns and his briers.
18 The splendor of his forests and fertile fields
it will completely destroy,
as when a sick person wastes away.
19 And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few
that a child could write them down.
The Remnant of Israel
20 In that day the remnant of Israel,
the survivors of Jacob,
will no longer rely on him
who struck them down
but will truly rely on the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.
21 A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob
will return to the Mighty God.
22 Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel,
only a remnant will return.
Destruction has been decreed,
overwhelming and righteous.
23 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out
the destruction decreed upon the whole land.
24 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says:
“My people who live in Zion,
do not be afraid of the Assyrians,
who beat you with a rod
and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
25 Very soon my anger against you will end
and my wrath will be directed to their destruction.”
26 The Lord Almighty will lash them with a whip,
as when he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb;
and he will raise his staff over the waters,
as he did in Egypt.
27 In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders,
their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be broken
because you have grown so fat.
28 They enter Aiath;
they pass through Migron;
they store supplies at Mikmash.
29 They go over the pass, and say,
“We will camp overnight at Geba.”
Gibeah of Saul flees.
30 Cry out, Daughter Gallim!
31 Madmenah is in flight;
the people of Gebim take cover.
32 This day they will halt at Nob;
they will shake their fist
at the mount of Daughter Zion,
at the hill of Jerusalem.
33 See, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
will lop off the boughs with great power.
The lofty trees will be felled,
the tall ones will be brought low.
34 He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax;
Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.
Reading through the words of Isaiah in this chapter, he seems to be a little all over the map. First, he issues a warning against those who make oppressive laws (which is not uncommon throughout this book). We know after reading the previous nine chapters that God hates the oppression of marginalized. He then speaks of God’s judgment that is headed towards Assyria. Their wickedness and arrogance had caught up with them and Isaiah warned them of the impending judgment coming their way.
Finally, towards the end of the chapter, Isaiah says something interesting: There is going to be a remnant of God’s people who are protected in all of this and ultimately return back to the God who has loved them all along (v. 20-23). This promise here is a glimmer of hope in the midst of the chaos, death, and destruction all around them. It would have been easy for them to feel like they had been completely forgotten and left on their own, but God reminds them here that he will always protect the faithful remnant. This reminder is as true for us today as it was to Isaiah’s original audience.
It’s easy for us to feel like the world is on fire all around us today. There is chaos, sin, death, and destruction all around us due to people turning their backs on God. But we, too, have a glimmer of hope in the midst of all of this. Because of Jesus, the destruction that sin causes doesn’t leave us hopeless with a fatalistic worldview. Instead, we get to live with a confident hope that life on earth is as bad as it will ever get for followers of Jesus. For those that truly rely on the Lord (v. 20), we can trust that God will preserve and protect us. How do we do that? We start by looking for opportunities to be faithful witnesses of the Gospel each day. We live as salt and light in the world. We point people to Jesus through each conversation and interaction we have. This is how to live as the faithful remnant.
- Which section of this passage stuck out to you the most the first time you read it? Why is that?
- If someone asked you to sum up the first ten chapters of Isaiah in one sentence, what would you say?
- What does it look like for you to be part of the faithful remnant today? What are small steps of faithfulness you can take over the next 24 hours?
By the Way
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