Overview of Isaiah 28-35
In this section of Isaiah, the Lord addresses the sins the people of Ephraim (the northern kingdom of Israel)and Judah committed in trusting in Egypt’s assistance to overcome Assyrian aggression rather than trusting in God’s ability to protect and provide for them. This failure to trust in the Lord will result in Israel’s demise.However, the message is not one of total destruction. Instead, Isaiah encourages the people by speaking of a day in the future in which God will destroy their enemies and restore them to a right relationship with Himself. As you read various passages from this section of Isaiah this week, ask God to reveal to you ways in which you are tempted to disregard or disobey God’s word by trusting in other people or things to provide for your needs. Also, ask the Lord to encourage you in your faith as you read Isaiah’s beautiful words concerning God’s future work of deliverance.
Monday, September 18 | Isaiah 28:1-13 | Wayne Splawn
Throughout the book of Proverbs, the reader is reminded of the danger of pride. For example, in Proverbs 16:18, we read, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” When we feel overly confident in our abilities to overcome an obstacle, we often fail to make the preparations necessary to meet the demands of the challenge at hand. Even if others are warning us that we are not prepared or encouraging us to call on others for assistance, we fail to see the seriousness of the situation we are facing and end up falling flat on our face.
Proverbs 16:18 summarizes the situation Isaiah addresses in Isaiah 28:1-13. Ephraim (the northern kingdom of Israel) wore pride like a crown. Rather than trusting in God’s word and heeding God’s calls for repentance and trust in Him, the people Ephraim assumed they were in a position of strength that will last indefinitely.However, Isaiah wrote that the shine on Ephraim’s crown would soon fade. Just as ripe fruit quickly disappears when it is plucked from the vine and consumed, so Ephraim would quickly be humbled (Isaiah 28:4). On that day, the Lord will be the glory of those who have remained faithful to him and His word. Even though God warned His people of their need to repent, they did not hear and heed God’s message because they were confident in their own ability.
We are often more like Ephraim than we would like to admit. Rather than conforming our lives to God’s Word, we often think we can handle the situations we will face in this life by trusting in our own wisdom and ability. But, when we take that approach to life we are destined to fall. The question is not, “If?”, but“When?” Allow Isaiah’s rebuke of Ephraim to be a powerful reminder of your need to listen to God’s Word and to conform your life to His will rather than foolishly trusting in yourself.
Isaiah 28:1-13 (ESV):
Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters,
he casts down to the earth with his hand.
3 The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
will be trodden underfoot;
4 and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of the rich valley,
will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer:
when someone sees it, he swallows it
as soon as it is in his hand.
5 In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7 These also reel with wine
and stagger with strong drink;
the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
they are swallowed by wine,
they stagger with strong drink,
they reel in vision,
they stumble in giving judgment.
8 For all tables are full of filthy vomit,
with no space left.
9 “To whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk,
those taken from the breast?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”
11 For by people of strange lips
and with a foreign tongue
the Lord will speak to this people,
12 to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.
13 And the word of the Lord will be to them
precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little,
that they may go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken.