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Read Isaiah 29

Woe to David’s City

29 Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David settled!
Add year to year
    and let your cycle of festivals go on.
Yet I will besiege Ariel;
    she will mourn and lament,
    she will be to me like an altar hearth.[a]
I will encamp against you on all sides;
    I will encircle you with towers
    and set up my siege works against you.
Brought low, you will speak from the ground;
    your speech will mumble out of the dust.
Your voice will come ghostlike from the earth;
    out of the dust your speech will whisper.

But your many enemies will become like fine dust,
    the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant,
    the Lord Almighty will come
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
    with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
    that attack her and her fortress and besiege her,
will be as it is with a dream,
    with a vision in the night—
as when a hungry person dreams of eating,
    but awakens hungry still;
as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking,
    but awakens faint and thirsty still.
So will it be with the hordes of all the nations
    that fight against Mount Zion.

Be stunned and amazed,
    blind yourselves and be sightless;
be drunk, but not from wine,
    stagger, but not from beer.
10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep:
    He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
    he has covered your heads (the seers).

11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”

13 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.[b]
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
    with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
15 Woe to those who go to great depths
    to hide their plans from the Lord,
who do their work in darkness and think,
    “Who sees us? Who will know?”
16 You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
    “You know nothing”?

17 In a very short time, will not Lebanon be turned into a fertile field
    and the fertile field seem like a forest?
18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll,
    and out of gloom and darkness
    the eyes of the blind will see.
19 Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord;
    the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 The ruthless will vanish,
    the mockers will disappear,
    and all who have an eye for evil will be cut down—
21 those who with a word make someone out to be guilty,
    who ensnare the defender in court
    and with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.

22 Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the descendants of Jacob:

“No longer will Jacob be ashamed;
    no longer will their faces grow pale.
23 When they see among them their children,
    the work of my hands,
they will keep my name holy;
    they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob,
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding;
    those who complain will accept instruction.”

Go Deeper

The woes or warnings prophesied by Isaiah continue now with a focus on Ariel (which is a reference to Jerusalem, the city of David). In his warnings, Isaiah describes Jerusalem as presumptuous, living in denial of danger. While an attack on Jerusalem will occur, the Lord will mercifully deliver them from their attackers. Despite God’s powerful deliverance, Isaiah reveals that the people of Jerusalem are blind to God’s Word and deaf to His voice, even as they offer meaningless and mechanical worship. Their hearts are far from God.

As Isaiah continues to pronounce woes, he also reveals God’s compassionate heart toward His people in spite of their refusal to recognize God as their Creator and their tendency to try to hide their plans from Him. They repeatedly challenge God as if they were the potter and God the clay. Yet God graciously responds to these rebellious actions and arrogant attitudes with a promise of hope. Isaiah tells us that there will come a day when blind eyes see, the humble rejoice in the Holy One of Israel, and His people stand in awe of the God of Israel.

These woes are corrective in purpose and interlaced with God’s plan of hope and restoration. Isaiah’s words to Jerusalem are also words for us – you might call them wake-up calls. God uses His Word and wake-up calls in our lives to drive us to turn wholeheartedly to Him in complete dependence. Paul reminds us in Romans 15:4 of the value of examining Old Testament passages: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.” As we continue to study Isaiah, let’s ask God to wake us up from our empty worship and arrogant approach to our Maker. May He turn our hearts in repentance to trust and hope in Him alone.


  1. How does your worship reflect your heart toward God?
  2. When have you slipped into thinking you are the potter rather than God?
  3. What wake-up call has God used in your life to draw you to wholehearted trust in Him? Share this in your Life Group to encourage others.

By the Way

Want to know how Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the attack and deliverance of Jerusalem was fulfilled? Read 2 Kings 19:32-36.

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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 29”

  1. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things God has prepared for those who love him.” Christ’s reign will look totally different from the sham of man-made rule, as the presence of evil will be forever destroyed. What do we do in the meantime?
    *Honor him with our heart & voice.
    *Worship God with obedience, love & devotion.
    *Humble ourselves before God.
    *Submit to the Potter.
    *Rejoice in the Lord.
    *Recognize the holiness of the Father.
    *Stand in awe of God.
    As we wait for the new heaven & earth, we can usher in his peace and presence in the midst of the chaos by living as redeemed people, who take God at his word and living accordingly. We get one life, let’s live it well!

  2. Joy is the word that is in my heart. I know that my Father loves me, has plans for me, gives me directions, and I have the privilege of worshiping and serving HIM!!! With joy I will serve Him, speak of Him, and show Him to this world. I do not think joy and happiness are the same thing; Happiness is depends on happenings and joy is an inside job. Joy is found when you trust in the Lord Your God come what may, there can be joy found through serving, loving , worshipping, seeking and glorifying God. It is our second fruit after love Gal 5:22. John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. Acts 20:24 finish the race with joy.(kjv).
    Thank You God for Your joy down in my heart, whether there be good or bad, I can know and pull from the joy I have through You. Thank You for helping to show others how to have this joy through the finished victory of Jesus. Thank You for Your love goggles on for me to see people and be compassionate and loving . God give me words to speak what You would have me say in Jesus name amen.

  3. Such a uplifting passage of redemption, hope, and joy unspeakable! What a whiplash from the beginning to end! We read today the sovereignty of God! This passage explains who’s in control of our understanding—who blinds us (v10)—and who awakens us (thank you, God!!!) Matthew Henry stated two verses: Job 38:36 and Acts 26:18 to explain. “…concerning the words of the book and the meaning of them, shall come to understanding, to a right understanding of things; the Spirit of truth shall rectify their mistakes and lead them into all truth. This should encourage us to pray for those that have erred and are deceived, that God can, and often does, bring such to understanding.”
    Such hope to pray to God for the wisdom of understanding. ‘Ask, and it will be given to you’…Matt 7:7

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