Project 119: Isaiah 2:6-4:1

 |  Project 119

“The Day of the LORD”

This oracle from Isaiah returns the reader to the reality of divine judgment. God simply cannot and will not overlook human transgression. Rather than assume blame for the calamities Israel has come to know, Isaiah points out how the responsibility for the threats that have come upon the people lies ultimately with them.Their arrogance has required divine chastisement.

But such chastisement is intended to be disciplinary and redemptive, not punitive. God does not punish simply because He is angry. God disciplines His people so that we may learn from our mistakes.Isaiah describes the weight of God’s discipline in specific ways. All support of bread and water will go away (Isaiah 3:1). People will turn upon one another (Isaiah 3:3) and will be ruled over by people much younger and weaker (Isaiah 3:6, 12). Isaiah describes this coming season of doom as “the day of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:12), a time when God will allow the people to reap what they have deserved with their pride and arrogance.

We live in a day when people assume that they can get away with pretty much anything, if they’re sufficiently careful and crafty. But Isaiah’s oracle reminds us that God knows all and will not overlook what we do against His will. It’s much better to own up to our sins and transgressions and trust that God will also recognize the sincerity of our repentance and make it possible for us to have another chance to live in His good graces and bountiful care.

2:6 For you have rejected your people,     the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east     and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines,     and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. 7 Their land is filled with silver and gold,     and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses,     and there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is filled with idols;     they bow down to the work of their hands,     to what their own fingers have made. 9 So man is humbled,     and each one is brought low—     do not forgive them! 10 Enter into the rock     and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord,     and from the splendor of his majesty. 11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low,     and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

12 For the Lord of hosts has a day     against all that is proud and lofty,     against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low; 13 against all the cedars of Lebanon,     lofty and lifted up;     and against all the oaks of Bashan; 14 against all the lofty mountains,     and against all the uplifted hills; 15 against every high tower,     and against every fortified wall; 16 against all the ships of Tarshish,     and against all the beautiful craft. 17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,     and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,     and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols shall utterly pass away. 19 And people shall enter the caves of the rocks     and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the Lord,     and from the splendor of his majesty,     when he rises to terrify the earth.

20 In that day mankind will cast away     their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship,     to the moles and to the bats, 21 to enter the caverns of the rocks     and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the Lord,     and from the splendor of his majesty,     when he rises to terrify the earth. 22 Stop regarding man     in whose nostrils is breath,     for of what account is he?

3:1 For behold, the Lord God of hosts     is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply,     all support of bread,     and all support of water; 2 the mighty man and the soldier,     the judge and the prophet,     the diviner and the elder, 3 the captain of fifty     and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician     and the expert in charms. 4 And I will make boys their princes,     and infants shall rule over them. 5 And the people will oppress one another,     every one his fellow     and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder,     and the despised to the honorable.

6 For a man will take hold of his brother     in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak;     you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins     shall be under your rule”; 7 in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer;     in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me     leader of the people.” 8 For Jerusalem has stumbled,     and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,     defying his glorious presence.

9 For the look on their faces bears witness against them;     they proclaim their sin like Sodom;     they do not hide it. Woe to them!     For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them,     for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,     for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 12 My people—infants are their oppressors,     and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you     and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

13 The Lord has taken his place to contend;     he stands to judge peoples. 14 The Lord will enter into judgment     with the elders and princes of his people: “It is you who have devoured the vineyard,     the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people,     by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty     and walk with outstretched necks,     glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go,     tinkling with their feet, 17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab     the heads of the daughters of Zion,     and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;     and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness;     and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;     and branding instead of beauty. 25 Your men shall fall by the sword     and your mighty men in battle. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;     empty, she shall sit on the ground.

4:1 And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”