The Remnant Will Rely on the Holy One of Isra'el

10: 20-27

    DIG: What price is paid for this object lesson? The remnant theme has appeared before (see 1:9; 4:3 and 6:13). How does this theme show both God’s judgment and His mercy? What attitudes characterize the remnant? What hope does Isaiah provide here for the people even before these events take place? How do these stories of Gideon, as when He struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb, (Judges 7) and Moses, as he raised his staff over the waters as he did in Egypt, (Exodus 14:21ff) comfort them?

    REFLECT: When was the last time you relied on the promises of God when things were really tough? Is it a comfort to you that the LORD is a promise keeper? Why or why not? Why is it critically important to you that YHVH keep His promises to Israel? Isaiah looked back to the stories of Gideon and Moses to provide hope and comfort for the people. What stories of God’s grace and deliverance can you look back upon to find hope in times when it is hard to trust Him?

    The focus suddenly changes from Assyria to the surviving remnant of Israel of the far eschatological future. While the Assyrians seemingly marched toward victory (10:28-34), her arrogance would not go unpunished (10:20-27). The emphasis here, however, is on the regeneration of the remnant of Israel that would ultimately survive the attack of the antichrist during the Great Tribulation (see Kg - The Second Coming of Jesus Christ at Bozrah).

    In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, the righteous of the TANAKH will trust in, believe in, or truly rely on the LORD (10:20a). The phrase, in that day, identifies a time when God intervenes in human history. Normally, this is the hand of judgment, as here and in 4:2, that judgment is not only seen in destructive terms, for there will be a remnant of believers in Yeshua that will emerge from the chaos (Malachi 4:1-3). They will return to God, and henceforth, place their trust in Him alone. In addition, the expression, in that day, puts it beyond the time of the Assyrian Empire and into the far eschatological future. The words Isaiah uses here are the same as those he uses to describe the Great Tribulation in Chapter 28. So having outlined the invasion of the Assyrian army in 10:5-19, Isaiah now turns to the ultimate survival of the righteous  of the TaNaKh from both the northern kingdom of Isra'el and the southern kingdom of Judah. Then he returns to his own time in 10:28-34, and shows the arrival of the Assyrian army just prior to its destruction (37:36). It is not unusual for Isaiah to abruptly switch back and forth between the near historical future and the far eschatological future.

    The remnant will include survivors of the house of Jacob, or Israel. The number of those who escape is given to us in Zechariah 13:7-9. There we are told that only one-third of the Jews who begin the Great Tribulation will survive it seven years later. They will no longer rely on him who struck them down, and from Dani'el 9:26-27 we know this to be the antichrist. But the righteous of the TaNaKh will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Isra'el (10:20b), which will lead to a national regeneration (Zechariah 12:7 to 13:1).

    Isaiah has already told us that a remnant will return (shuwb). Here he makes direct use of the name of his son Shear-Jashub (7:3). There is a negative and positive meaning to this name as it applied to King Ahaz. Negatively, it points to a destruction from which only a portion of Ahaz’s people will return. Yet, there is a positive implication in its promise that some will survive. In this sense, although the word remnant does not appear again after 17:3, it is still possibly the most appropriate summary of the entire book, because it captures the combined themes of redemption and judgment that continue from the beginning of the book to end.

    God's prophet declared that a remnant of Jacob will return from the northern kingdom of Israel (10:21a). Although it will only be a remnant, nonetheless, it will represent all twelve tribes and the descendants of Jacob. As such, it will fulfill all the ancient promises of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It will not only be those from the southern kingdom of Judah, but the faithful from all the twelve tribes. The Mighty God of Jacob would come as meek as a Lamb.  John the Baptist would say: Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29)! And as a result, the remnant would have faith in Him (10:21b). There will come a day when the Millennial Kingdom will be established, and ADONAI’s might will be demonstrated in the Messiah.

    Nevertheless, despite this word of assurance that the Jewish people would not be annihilated, it would still be true that the remnant would be only a fragment of the original number. The promises to Abraham would not be annulled; they will certainly be fulfilled (Genesis 15:9-21 and 17:19). That is good news for us today. If the promises to Abraham can be annulled, His promises to you can be annulled. Isn't it good to know we have a Savior who is a promise keeper? Though children of Jacob would be many, like the sand by the sea (Genesis 22:17 and 32:12; Second Samuel 17:11), only a few would return. Destruction, although overwhelming, would be fair, or righteous (10:22).

    But whether in the near historical future and Isra'el's confrontation with Sennacherib, or the far eschatological future and her confrontation with the antichrist, Adonai, ELOHIM of heaven’s angelic armies, must carry out His promises in a way that is consistent with His holiness. So the destruction decreed, due to sin, cannot be withheld, and it will come upon the whole Land sooner or later (10:23).

    Isaiah continues to look to the far eschatological future and ultimate survival in the messianic Kingdom of the righteous of the TaNaKh. These verses speak a message of comfort and hope, addressed to the faithful remnant facing the Assyrian menace. As Sennacherib fought his way toward them with his superior army, the Jews living in Jerusalem knew that he had conquered the northern kingdom of Isra'el some twenty years earlier. Isaiah's message was comforting in the fact that if a remnant could indeed come out of the northern kingdom of Isra'el, then there was hope for them, staring down the bow of the Assyrian army.

    Therefore, this is what Adonai, ELOHIM-Tzva'ot says (10:24a CJB). The word therefore, based upon the previous paragraph, means because of the promise of a final restoration during the Messianic Kingdom, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did (10:24b). The righteous of the TaNaKh will survive. The fact that there will be a final restoration means that the remnant will survive every invasion sent against it. While individual Jews are not indestructible, Jews, nationally, are indestructible. This gives promise to the remnant of Isaiah's day that God’s promises are sure. Neither Sennacherib, nor the antichrist can destroy God’s promises, because a remnant will survive.

    Very soon My anger against you will end and My wrath will be directed to their destruction (10:25). This gives us a further explanation of the command not to fear. The problem is not with the Assyrian invasion, but God’s anger and wrath. It is as if the LORD was saying to the Israelites then, and says to us today, “Don’t worry about the enemy who is about to overcome you, because in this world you will have trouble, focus instead on Me, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

    ADONAI-Tzva'ot will lash them with a whip, as when He struck down Midian at the rock of Orab (10:26a). Isaiah talks about the destruction of Assyria and likens it to the destruction of the Midianites in the book of Judges. They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan (Judges 7:25). Ironically, those who live by the whip die by the whip.

    He also likens it to the destruction of the Egyptians (see my commentary on Exodus Ci - The Waters Were Divided and the Israelites Went Through the Sea on Dry Land). As He will raise His staff over the waters as He did in Egypt (10:26b). Egypt drove Israel into the sea, and Assyria will drive those living in Jerusalem into a sea of suffering. Moses lifted his staff over the sea and now God will raise His staff over Assyria. As the waves swallowed up the Egyptians under Pharaoh, waves will now swallow up the Assyrians under Sennacherib. They will both be punished in a like manner. Thus, the historical analogy becomes a reason for hope and encouragement. What ADONAI has done once, He can and will do again.

    As a result, there will be the removal of the yoke over the believing remnant. Assyria’s destruction by the LORD means there is hope for the righteous of the TaNaKh living in Jerusalem. When ADONAI destroys Sennacherib's army, their burden (implies being under obligation) will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke (implies being under orders) from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat (10:27). The picture is drawn of an ox who has eaten so well and been worked so little that the very fat of its neck breaks the yoke away. An odd picture to be sure, but an extremely graphic one, for God promises to bless His people. Thus, Isaiah assured his readers that the Assyrian burden would not last forever. They would need this comfort in light of the coming invasion.

    We need the same comfort. If we are to keep the faith in times of stress and difficulty we must remember what YHVH has not only done for all believers in Yeshua, but what He has done for us personally. We can ill afford to have a form of spiritual Alzheimer’s disease. When our spiritual memory is secure, so is our spiritual identity.


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