An Oracle Concerning Jerusalem

22: 1-25

    In the Oracles to the Nations, Isaiah now turns to his own people. But what is an oracle against Jerusalem doing in a collection of oracles against the nations? The reason that God the Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to include certain nations and exclude others was for the purpose of object lessons, similar to the Letters to the Seven Churches (see my commentary on the book of Revelation Ay - Write, Therefore, What Is Now). There, yes, each church had a lesson to learn, but the reason that God the Holy Spirit inspired John to write to them was primarily for our benefit. Twenty centuries of believers have benefited from the lessons learned there. So it is with the Oracles to the Nations. They are grouped according to their similarity for our benefit.

    Babylon and Edom answer the question, “Where does rebellion against the LORD lead?”

    The oracle against Philisita describes the personal cost of trying to destroy Isra'el, the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10).

    Moab is a picture of what happens when we place our hope in ourselves and our accomplishments instead of ADONAI.

    Damascus and Samaria answer the question, “What happens if I forget about God?”

    Cush, Egypt, and Arabia teach us what happens when we cut the LORD out of the picture and take the steering wheel of our lives into our own hands.

    The oracle against Tyre reminds us that human pride and the love of money can really hurt us.

    And finally, the prophecy against Jerusalem, or the southern kingdom of Judah, reminds us not to despise the LORD’s discipline and not to resent His rebuke (Proverbs 3:11-12). Like the lessons from the letters to the seven churches in Revelation these are lessons for the ages. May learn them well.

    There are two time periods in this section separated by 115 years. They are not in chronological order. First, in 22:15-25, Isaiah describes a time when Hezekiah was king. In 701 BC Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, all but destroyed Judah. He conquered forty-six of Judah’s fortified cities, but because of the prayer of Hezekiah (37:14-20), God spared Jerusalem. He did not destroy her, but He did discipline her. In this section Shebna is an example of the neglect and abuse of the leadership of Jerusalem, whereas Eliakim is an example of a godly man and the believing remnant. Did she learn her lesson? No, she despised the LORD’s discipline, and resented His rebuke. Thus, secondly, in 22:11-14 Isaiah describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 587 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia. He sees the coming destruction of his own city and people, he is filled with grief.

 

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