Reading through the Bible together
Isaiah names Ephraim in verse 1 but actually there is a shadow over Ephraim that we need to consider. There is the proud king and there are drunkards in Ephraim who are overcome by alcohol. Ephraim is like fading flower of glorious beauty (v. 1).
When Isaiah said this he also has Lucifer in mind who despite his beauty became proud and was cast out of heaven and his supporters with him. Isaiah saw the Lord as the Strong and Mighty one, the Messiah, who like a powerful storm cast them down to the earth with a mighty hand” (v. 2d). The Messiah cast Lucifer out of heaven due to his evil and in the Executive Judgment will deal with all evil with finality and terminally. Yes, the proud crown and the drunkards of Ephraim will fade and be gone (v. 4).
In the Messianic Age the Lord will become a crown of glory and regain what Adam and Eve lost through Satan’s actions (v. 5). As a result, He will “be a glorious crown to the remnant of His people” (v. 5b). Christ, who will sit in Judgment, will have “a spirit of justice” (v. 6a). And during the Time of Trouble Christ the Warrior Messiah will be “a strength to His people, those who repel the battle at the gate” (v. 6b). Unfortunately, pastors and priests will be “confused by wine, stagger from strong drink, and stumble in judgment” (v. 7a-e).
The question Isaiah then asks is to whom is the Messiah going to teach knowledge and “to whom would He help to understand the message?” (v. 9a-b). This question also applies to the time of Jesus. He would have loved to speak to an understanding and informed people but He had to call twelve disciples from fishing nets and “wean them from the milk” of the Word (v. 9c) and give them solid food. Christ the Messiah would speak to the unsaved through “stammering lips and a foreign tongue” as we witness in Acts 2 with the gift of the Spirit to speak in many languages (v. 11). Christ would say to them “give rest to the weary” (v. 12). But the bad part for Isaiah is that the weary “would not listen” (v. 12b).
Christ’s method of Bible study is line upon line, here a little, there a little” (v. 13). But people would stumble on the Rock of Christ, fall, be snared, and taken. The Messiah as noticed by Paul in Romans 9:33 and Peter in 1 Peter 2:6 is “a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone, the foundation, firmly placed” (v. 16a-c). Now Isaiah comes to the center of salvation: “He who believes will not be disturbed” (v. 16d). This is the center of this chapter!
Christ will make righteousness and justice the measuring line of the Investigative Judgment (v. 17). God did not send His Son to compromise with evil. All lies will be swept away (v. 17c). During the Time of Trouble which will come on the earth, God’s actions will be His “unusual task” (v. 21c), “His extraordinary work” (v. 21d), the destruction of all the earth (v. 22c-d).
Then Isaiah uses an illustration from the farm to make his point. God instructs the farmer when to sow and when to harvest (v. 26). Likewise, God will not continue sowing His grace forever without harvesting. Isaiah praises the Lord for the instruction he has received (v. 29).
We also need to take stock of ourselves whether we are just playing with God and with our status as the remnant people of God. Grant that we will believe with all our hearts and minds everything that is in given us and praise Your name. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea