Series: Thru the Bible
Message – Israel’s Sins, America’s Mirror
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Israel’s Sins, America’s Mirror
Beginning here in Isaiah 3, the Lord begins to describe Israel’s offenses and their resulting judgments, beginning with the removal of every thing in which they placed reliance for their safety and security. God knocks the props out from underneath them causing them to see that they had built their house upon sand.
In this way it is a fitting illustration of God’s potential attitude and future actions toward North America and the modern world at large.
“(1) Observe this: The Lord GOD of Hosts is about to remove from Jerusalem and from Judah every kind of security:
the entire supply of bread and water,
(2) the hero and warrior,
the judge and prophet,
the fortune-teller and elder,
(3) the commander of 50 and the dignitary, the counselor, cunning magician, and necromancer.”
Those things alone affect a country’s food, military strength and effectiveness, discernment, wisdom, foresight, all of which affect market strength and resources. Sound familiar?
(4) “I will make youths their leaders, and the unstable will govern them.”
Again…sound familiar? There are many who have traditionally invested in stocks who are either on hold during this administration or are advancing slowly and cautiously – to the point that the market is in severe flux right now. Even noteworthy and historically dependable stocks are unstable and increasingly erratic.
Liberal policies have so negatively impacted people that even liberals themselves are seeking ways to avoid their impact.
Florida has been both negatively and positively impacted by this. The explosive and ongoing growth in the real estate market are going to have an equal and opposite crash almost without question. Also, for every person who moves to Florida, you have the same individual leaving another area creating a vacuum.
The huge increase in contracting for new developments is already experiencing difficulties in that contracts are now going unfulfilled or greatly delayed due to supply issues. Some of these are already being treated as a legal breach of contract. Depending on the specifics, a breach can occur when a party fails to perform on time, does not perform in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or does not perform at all – all of which can, do and have happened recently due to supply issues.
As a society, we are very likely speeding our way towards the edge of a very steep and deadly precipice.
The point is, such poor decisions which are in direct conflict with God’s established order and delegated authority will have real consequences – many of which will not be possible to predict.
“(5) The people will oppress one another, man against man, neighbor against neighbor; the youth will act arrogantly toward the elder, and the worthless toward the honorable.”
“(6) A man will even seize his brother in his father’s house, saying: “You have a cloak–you be our leader! This heap of rubble will be under your control.”
“(7) On that day he will cry out, saying: “I’m not a healer. I don’t even have food or clothing in my house. Don’t make me the leader of the people!”
“(8) For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen because they have spoken and acted against the LORD, defying His glorious presence.”
“(9) The look on their faces testifies against them, and like Sodom, they flaunt their sin. They do not conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.”
Both politically and socially this fits us to a tee!
“(10) Tell the righteous that it will go well for them, for they will eat the fruit of their deeds.
(11) Woe to the wicked–it will go badly for them, for what they have done will be done to them.”
“(12) Youths oppress My people, and women rule over them. My people, your leaders mislead you; they confuse the direction of your paths.”
Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris and the newest nominee for a position on the Supreme Court Ketanji Brown Jackson are all excellent examples of this judgment of God on our nation.
“(13) The LORD rises to argue the case and stands to judge the people. (14) The LORD brings this charge against the elders and leaders of His people:
“You have devastated the vineyard. The plunder from the poor is in your houses.
(15) Why do you crush My people and grind the faces of the poor?” says the Lord GOD of Hosts.”
The following so fits today’s expression of feminism that you would think it was a modern description of our society.
“(16) The LORD also says: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, walking with heads held high and seductive eyes, going along with prancing steps, jingling their ankle bracelets, (17) the Lord will put scabs on the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will shave their foreheads bare.
(18) On that day the Lord will strip their finery: ankle bracelets, headbands, crescents, (19) pendants, bracelets, veils, (20) headdresses, ankle jewelry, sashes, perfume bottles, amulets, (21) signet rings, nose rings, (22) festive robes, capes, cloaks, purses, (23) garments, linen clothes, turbans, and veils.
(24) Instead of perfume there will be a stench;
instead of a belt, a rope;
instead of beautifully styled hair, baldness;
instead of fine clothes, sackcloth;
instead of beauty, branding.
(25) Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.
(26) Then her gates will lament and mourn; deserted, she will sit on the ground.”
This is the future plight of those who exalt women above men effectively reversing the God assigned roles He established from creation…from before the fall.
The rise of women is a march in which men are even participating in their own emasculation.
It is SO pervasive that it knows no boundaries. It is even in our language and is corrupting and replacing even base cultural metaphors in order to completely eliminate all references and connections between men and strength, valor, provision, protection and leadership.
Three times in recent years I have begun to hear a vulgar example of this but you need to be aware to what degree this is being taken.
You are all certainly aware of the vulgar use of “having a pair” as a cultural idiom for boldness, courage and strength. This is now being replaced with a vulgar term for the female sex organ. TV, movies, comedy routines and such are creating sketches where the weaknesses of one are pitted against the exaggerated strengths of the other. I will allow your imaginations to fill in the details, but as loathe as I am to mention this – it serves to show how serious they are in seeing to it that ANY reference to the strength, courage and protection of men and therefore their necessity is completely eliminated from society and replaced with the notion of female superiority.
This is one of the last phases before the entire fall of a culture!
“(1) On that day seven women will seize one man, saying, “We will eat our own bread and provide our own clothing. Just let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace.”
As the previous chapter mentioned, what was coming was going to deplete the land of many of its men which would have a terrible impact.
So many men would be killed that many women would seek to marry one man. The specific number seven in Jewish history often stood for an indefinite number.
Contrary to the provisions of the law for second, third, forth wives and so on, that they should all be provided for with separate houses and accommodations, these women only sought a covering and offspring.
The reproach they sought to disway was that of being unwed and childless. This was often considered shameful for women of the ancient world, but even more so for Jews who had the promise of the Messiah and therefore were looking for the predicted “seed of the woman” described in Isaiah 4:2; 54:1,4 & Luke 1:25.
In today’s world we are going to see something similar, though not precisely the same. Men are still around, but their impact, influence, authority and provisions are being greatly diminished as is the perceived importance and need of them. Women are being taught that they do not need a man and that they need to be self-sufficient and independent. That they are to see male authority as suppressive and oppressive and as something which needs to be condemned and resisted. As such we are already seeing some of the impact of such foolishness in the direction this country is headed.
“(2) On that day the branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of Israel’s survivors.
“(3) Whoever remains in Zion and whoever is left in Jerusalem will be called holy–all in Jerusalem who are destined to live– (4) when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodguilt from the heart of Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning.
(5) Then the LORD will create a cloud of smoke by day and a glowing flame of fire by night over the entire site of Mount Zion and over its assemblies.
For there will be a canopy over all the glory, (6) and there will be a booth for shade from heat by day, and a refuge and shelter from storm and rain.”
Though the meaning of this is clearly regarding Israel, I believe it serves as an encouragement to the body of Christ. We are to stand as examples to the world where the God given distinctions between the roles and authority of men and women are honored and held tightly to. As such we will shine as lights in their darkness. A light that will no doubt be despised, but one which will eventuate in a strength and stability which the world will find slipping out of their grip due to their rebellion against God’s will in these matters.
We cannot forget that all of creation speaks of God and His character and mankind is the apex of that intended revelation. We specifically are His image bearers and we do so differently and uniquely as men and women. To change that order and authority is to distort the image we bear and thus, dishonor Him and degenerate His image, make no mistake the devil understands this which is why he persuades humans to reject these roles that he might lead them in either known or ignorant rebellion against God. It is a severe blasphemy and egregious sin which will bring judgment!
God deals with the vineyard of His people
“(1) I will sing about the one I love, a song about my loved one’s vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. (2) He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones, and planted it with the finest vines. He built a tower in the middle of it and even hewed out a winepress there.
He expected it to yield good grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes.
(3) So now, residents of Jerusalem and men of Judah, please judge between Me and My vineyard.
(4) What more could I have done for My vineyard than I did?
Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes, did it yield worthless grapes?
(5) Now I will tell you what I am about to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge, and it will be consumed; I will tear down its wall, and it will be trampled. (6) I will make it a wasteland. It will not be pruned or weeded; thorns and briers will grow up.
I will also give orders to the clouds that rain should not fall on it.
(7) For the vineyard of the LORD of Hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah, the plant He delighted in.
He looked for justice but saw injustice,
for righteousness, but heard cries of wretchedness.
(8) Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until there is no more room and you alone are left in the land.”
As we noted in Amos, there were those in Israel who were accumulating wealth and being either dishonest in their treatment of the poor, or taking more than their share so the poor were left with little to nothing. These words mean they were accumulating houses and fields and becoming the only landowners in Israel, leaving many with nothing! Though this evidently had some application in Judah as well.
“(9) In my hearing the LORD of Hosts has taken an oath: Indeed, many houses will become desolate, grand and lovely ones without inhabitants.
(10) For a ten-acre vineyard will yield only six gallons, and 10 bushels of seed will yield only one bushel.
(11) Woe to those who rise early in the morning in pursuit of beer, who linger into the evening, inflamed by wine.
(12) At their feasts they have lyre, harp, tambourine, flute, and wine. They do not perceive the LORD’s actions, and they do not see the work of His hands.
(13) Therefore My people go into exile because they lack knowledge; the dignitaries are starving, and the masses are parched with thirst.
(14) Therefore Sheol enlarges its throat and opens wide its enormous jaws, and down go Zion’s dignitaries, her masses, her crowds, and those who carouse in her!
(15) Humanity is brought low, man is humbled, and haughty eyes are humbled.
(16) But the LORD of Hosts is exalted by His justice, and the holy God is distinguished by righteousness.
(17) Lambs will graze as if in their own pastures, and strangers will eat among the ruins of the rich.
(18) Woe to those who drag wickedness with cords of deceit and pull sin along with cart ropes, (19) to those who say: “Let Him hurry up and do His work quickly so that we can see it! Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take place so that we can know it!”
(20) Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
(21) Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight.
(22) Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, who are fearless at mixing beer, (23) who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of justice.
(24) Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw and as dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will become like something rotten and their blossoms will blow away like dust, for they have rejected the instruction of the LORD of Hosts, and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
(25) Therefore the LORD’s anger burns against His people. He raised His hand against them and struck them; the mountains quaked, and their corpses were like garbage in the streets.
In all this, His anger is not removed, and His hand is still raised to strike. (26) He raises a signal flag for the distant nations and whistles for them from the ends of the earth.
Look–how quickly and swiftly they come! (27) None of them grows weary or stumbles; no one slumbers or sleeps.
No belt is loose, and no sandal strap broken.
(28) Their arrows are sharpened, and all their bows strung.
Their horses’ hooves are like flint; their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind.
(29) Their roaring is like a lion’s; they roar like young lions; they growl and seize their prey and carry it off, and no one can rescue it.
(30) On that day they will roar over it, like the roaring of the sea. When one looks at the land, there will be darkness and distress; light will be obscured by clouds.”
“(1) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and His robe filled the temple.
(2) Seraphim were standing above Him; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
(3) And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Hosts; His glory fills the whole earth.
(4) The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.
(5) Then I said: Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.
(6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs.
(7) He touched my mouth with it and said: Now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, and your sin is atoned for.
(8) Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
Who should I send?
Who will go for Us?
I said: Here I am. Send me.
(9) And He replied:
Go! Say to these people: Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive.
(10) Dull the minds of these people; deafen their ears and blind their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed.
(11) Then I said, “Until when, Lord?”
And He replied: Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants, houses are without people, the land is ruined and desolate, (12) and the LORD drives the people far away, leaving great emptiness in the land.
(13) Though a tenth will remain in the land, it will be burned again.
Like the terebinth or the oak, which leaves a stump when felled, the holy seed is the stump.”
This was still in effect when Messiah Jesus arrived and He clarified those to whom it applied,
“(10) When He was alone with the Twelve, those who were around Him asked Him about the parables. (11) He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been granted to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables (12) so that they may look and look, yet not perceive; they may listen and listen, yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back–and be forgiven.” ~ Mark 4:10-12
And Paul addressed the same general truth in 2Cor. 4:3-6,
“(3) But if, in fact, our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (4) Regarding them: the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (5) For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. (6) For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”–He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”
John tells us why they do not respond in faith to the light…
“(16) For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (18) Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. (19) “This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. (21) But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” ~ John 3:16-21
…and Paul recounting his call to the Gentiles before King Aggripa said,
“But I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ “And the Lord replied: ‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. (16) But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you. (17) I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, (18) to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.‘” ~ Acts 26:15-18
Isaiah is sent to Ahaz King of Judah
“(1) This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Rezin king of Aram, along with Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, waged war against Jerusalem, but he could not succeed. [2Kings 15-16]
(2) When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in a wind.
(3) Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Fuller’s Field. (4) Say to him:”
Shear-jashub means – a remnant will return.
Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or fainthearted because of these two smoldering stubs of firebrands, Rezin of Aram, and the son of Remaliah. [whose name is Pekah]
(5) For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you.
They say: (6) Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.”
(7) This is what the Lord GOD says: It will not happen; it will not occur. (8) The head of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus is Rezin (within 65 years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people), (9) the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.”
Ask for a sign – the sign of Immanuel
“(10) Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz:
(11) “Ask for a sign from the LORD your God–from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.”
(12) But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the LORD.”
(13) Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? (14) Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
The virgin will conceive, have a Son, and name Him Immanuel.
(15) By the time He learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, He will be eating butter and honey. (16) For before the Boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned.”
Though we know this verse is said to be fulfilled in Messiah Jesus by the inspired writing of Matthew in chapter 1 verse 23 of his gospel, it also clearly served a dual purpose.
This prophetic word was to serve as a sign – NOT just to Ahaz, but also to the house of David. So even though we would expect any Old Testament prophecy to have an immediate fulfillment as well as a fulfillment in Messiah – this passage all but says so.
Now, there has been much debate over the years regarding the word translated as virgin. This word (עַלְמָה, ʿalmah) can refer to a virgin, it does not inherently carry this meaning. A most straightforward rendering would be “young woman” and the timing of the conception could be past, immediate or prophetically futuristic. However, when the Old Testament scriptures were translated into Greek by 132BC and they translated the word with the Greek word parthenos the same word Matthew employed in his gospel, which decidedly means virgin. This gives the lie to the idea that it was translated as virgin by Matthew out of convenience.
So due to the inspirational nature of scripture, we know that this sign WAS prophetically futuristic and had it’s ultimate fulfillment in the immaculate conception of Messiah Jesus which was to serve as a sign to the House of David.
What we do not know is how this served as a sign to Ahaz. Obviously, in order for it to serve as a sign to Ahaz, it had to be a pregnancy with which he would be aware, suggesting it may have been in the royal family OR the offspring which Isaiah himself would have in short order.
So the first thing we need to tack down is what is this a promised sign of?
Well, it was a sign that what God had said regarding the two kings Pekah and Rezin would come true. These two kings whom Ahaz feared would be killed and this came to be within three years of the prophecy which would be before the predicted child would be old enough to discern right from wrong. Historically we know that Hoshea conspired against Pekah, and killed him as is recorded in 2Kings 15:30. Also, the king of Assyria took Damascus, and slew Rezin as is recorded in 2Kings 16:9.
So we know the prophecy was fulfilled. What we do NOT know is, what noteworthy birth, with which Ahaz was aware, took place before the demise of these two kings, but did not reach the age of accountability before they died and whose name meant God with us?
Sadly we do not know. The wording in this prophecy suggests to modern translators that the woman who was to conceive was present when Isaiah spoke this prophecy to Ahaz, but we do not know that for certain.
As I already told you Isaiah’s son’s name Shear-jashub meant a remnant will return, which no doubt pointed to the return of 200,000 captives who Pekah and Rezin had carried away. The account of which is found in 2Chron. 28:8-15. However, this could not be the predicted child because he was already born, was past the age indicated and his name did not mean “God is with us”.
We know too little of the household of Ahaz to speak of births in his house, but Isaiah DID have a son after this and though his birth also had an additional meaning, it “may” have also applied to this prophecy. This son, as we will discover next week in chapter 8, was named Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. His name means “speedy is prey” and foreshadows what will happen to Judah’s enemies; when their defeat takes place. This young boy would serve as a reminder that God predicted these events and brought it to pass. As such the child will be a reminder of God’s protective presence with His people and those are the very words God uses regarding God’s judgments over His people and what He expects them to discern from them as a result.
Isaiah 8:10, “Devise a plan; it will fail. Make a prediction; it will not happen. For God is with us.”
In the end, I do not know if this was the fulfillment of the sign to Ahaz, and I while I have my doubts, I admit that it sort of adds up. My main reluctance is not due to it being too far fetched, because many times God does things which you have to seek in order to find. It is just that in my opinion, there is lacking evidence that Ahaz was close enough with the events of Isaiah’s life for the birth of a son to serve as a sign to Ahaz.
“(17) The LORD will bring on you, your people, and the house of your father, such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah–the king of Assyria is coming.
(18) On that day the LORD will whistle to the fly that is at the farthest streams of the Nile and to the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (19) All of them will come and settle in the steep ravines, in the clefts of the rocks, in all the thornbushes, and in all the water holes.
(20) On that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River–the king of Assyria–to shave the head, the hair on the legs, and to remove the beard as well. [These were signs of servitude]
(21) On that day a man will raise a young cow and two sheep, (22) and from the abundant milk they give he will eat butter, for every survivor in the land will eat butter and honey.
(23) And on that day every place where there were 1,000 vines, worth 1,000 pieces of silver, will become thorns and briers.”
These two examples are actually examples of depravity. While the example of the poor harvest makes this clear, the former example of a man raising a young cow and two goats and that being sufficient provision may sound good to the uneducated ear, but according to Gill…
“this seems to denote both the scarcity of men and cattle, through the ravages of the army of the Chaldeans; that there should not be large herds and flocks, only a single cow, and two or three sheep; and yet men should be so few, and families so thin, that these would be sufficient to support them comfortably.”
(24) A man will go there with bow and arrows because the whole land will be thorns and briers.
(25) You will not go to all the hills that were once tilled with a hoe, for fear of the thorns and briers. Those hills will be places for oxen to graze and for sheep to trample.”
This has a dual reference as well, but both are more obvious than the prediction of Immanuel. The thorns and briers are used both literally and as a spiritual metaphor for the depraved character of God’s people who are likened to a vineyard of God’s planting.