Read Isaiah 22
A Prophecy About Jerusalem
22 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 honor 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.
This chapter, the fourth oracle spoken through the prophet Isaiah, is directed toward Jerusalem. This city is God’s chosen city, home to the people He set apart as His own. They have been called to look different and live differently because they belong to God. In all that the Lord has brought Jerusalem through, in all the victory and blessing, Isaiah 22:11 says “You did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.” The people have forgotten their God. They have turned to their own power, relying on their own strength to try to protect themselves and provide for themselves. They have forgotten the God who ordains all that has happened and all that will happen. The God who has provided and protected, and who will be the one to provide and protect again.
It’s the same storyline we see again and again throughout Scripture. God makes a promise to His people, they lose patience, they lose trust, and they grasp at control. Humankind is so prone to attempts at self-sufficiency–wanting not to wait on God and trust His faithfulness, but to be our own god. Isaiah reminds us how deeply this grieves the heart of God, but let’s not lose sight of His character in hearing of His wrath: Why does God despise their rebellion? Why does God give such a strong admonishment through the prophet Isaiah?
It’s because He loves His people. He loves us. His anger burns toward anything that would separate us from His presence. As often as we see a pattern of disobedience throughout Scripture, we also see a God who would do anything to bring His people close to Himself. Verse 20 introduces us to Eliakim, who would care for the people of Jerusalem, would be seated with honor, and would determine who could approach the king. He is just a shadow of the Savior that would come, the One who would care for His people in a way no one else ever had or ever would, and the One who would make a way for eternal access to the King–access that no sin or attempts at self-sufficiency could ever get in the way of. Let’s not miss the heart of the God we serve–a God who hates anything that would separate us from Him, and who sacrificed His Son so that nothing could.
- Where have you been seeking self-sufficiency and control instead of trust and surrender to a loving God?
- How does knowing God’s heart change the way you live your life? Does it?
- What Scripture can you meditate on to remember God’s heart toward you?
“To have faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus, if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things to be saved, but because he has begun to save you already.”–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 22”
I think of Christ’s lament to Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-38, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now look, your house is left to you empty and desolate.” Both Isaiah and Jesus display deep feelings over the impending judgement of God’s chosen people. I’m choosing to place myself under His wing today as I face some big challenges. May we crave his presence more than any other fleeting, earthly thing.
You can say the Valley of Vision caught my eye. “You looked”, “you saw”, “you counted”( v.8-10) “but you did not look to the One who made it,
or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.”
At the very beginning of Isaiah’s prophecy v1-4, I read how the people fled to the rooftops to see the destruction or to pray, and then fled cowardly. Then Isaiah, turns and weeps bitterly. I was reminded of the passage Nate referenced Sunday…Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ ‘bailed on us’… no, He DIED for us. God didn’t leave Jerusalem…Jerusalem forgot the One who made it and planned it. v10. They cowardly fled from the hands of the Babylonians and died not by the sword, but by refusing to turn their hearts to God. God gave them vision that day to see everything but it was too late.
Lord, help us to see. Open our eyes and hearts to your will and purpose. Create in us a clean heart, Oh God. Forgive us where we repeatedly fail you. Let us genuinely repent of that sin that separates us. We love you.
Every day I am start off by laying my life down and saying here I am send me, use me, let me be Your hands and feet, Your words not mine. I feel like a failure daily. There are some days of getting to share my faith but mostly not. I know what is in my heart, I know how the world circles in after I leave these walls to go into that world. BUT GOD shows me Himself in nature beauty, children’s innocence, and through just gentle whispers of His Holy Sprit sometimes. So reading God’s Word daily, singing about His majesty, admiring His artwork in nature, discussing Him with my family more and more is how I know He is alive and working in my life and I may think I failed yesterday but hopefully somehow someway I loved on someone that they can know that God is real and Loves them by my actions and that will happen EVERYDAY. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.
Blessed be You God my Father and Your are the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed me in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and blameless before Him. In love. He predestined me for adoption to Himself as a daughter through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed me in the Beloved. In him I have redemption through Christ blood, the forgiveness of my trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon me, in all wisdom and insight making know to me the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Thank You God for being able to take scripture Eph 1:3-10 and praying it over myself. Thank You for giving me correct words and grace. Thank Your for Your love goggles for today and efficiency to be Your hands, feet and mouthpiece of Christ in His name amen
The more I come to know God‘s word, the more I realize how much I don’t know! I did not know, for example, that the age-old phrase, “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die!” comes from this chapter. It would also seem to have given us an expression more familiar in church circles, “God opens doors no one can shut, and shuts doors no one can open” (v. 22).
I suspect the Bible may be the ultimate “meme-generator” of all time!
Scripture, however, is not a collection of catchy slogans, rather, a sacred text directing us in how to live.
I am particularly impacted by so much powerful prophecy on the subject of leadership. Today as I checked the news for election results, I was reminded (and reassured!) that ALL human authority is subject to God’s authority. Any leader anywhere only serves at God‘s pleasure— and if they do not, they will surely experience his extreme displeasure.
Meanwhile, for every faithful follower in any position of leadership, Isaiah 22 reminds us we are called to do so in humble obedience, holding loosely to our position—and tightly to God’s truth.
Let us continue to pray for our leaders and our own spheres of leadership:
“Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
1 Timothy 4:14-16 NLT
To God be the glory!