The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 16
Isaiah 22 records Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah; though Jerusalem itself is not taken, the prophet mourns over the destruction of God’s people (4). As the inhabitants of the city watch from the rooftops (1), they witness the capture of Judah’s rulers along with the people who had fled (3). Isaiah sees the surrounding enemy (7), but attributes their victory to the LORD of Hosts (5). The prophet’s terse phrase at the beginning of verse 8 tells the entire story: “He removed the protection of Judah.” Why would the LORD do such a thing to His people?
God removes the defenses of His people because of their misplaced faith; Judah is trusting in her weapons (8), in her provisions (9), in her plans for defense and protection (10-11a), but she is not trusting in the LORD who is her Maker and true Defender (11b). God wants to be His people’s defense, but wealth, weaponry, walls, and water blind Judah to God and give them false confidence in their own abilities. So God removes their defense.
God removes the defense of His people because of their moral failure: Judah not only trusts in her human defenses; she also rejects the LORD’s call for repentance in favor of revelry. God calls His people to mourn–”weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth” (12); the nation responds perversely with a party-based mindset, “Let us live eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (13). Such moral failure invites the judgment of God that will not be forgiven (14).
Isaiah presents a number of timeless truths for the people of God:
- Calamity comes to call God’s people to repentance before Him; the LORD uses the triumph of His enemies as a clarion call to His people to return to Him.
- When God’s people trust in all that their weapons, wealth, works, and walls can do rather than trusting in Him, God allows them to discover the consequences of such misplaced trust.
- God’s people who reject repentance for revelry and partying invite the severe judgment of God; they are living like unbelievers and deniers of the resurrection (see 1 Cor. 15:32).
- The consequences of misplaced place and moral failure have the potential to affect both the present generation and the ones to come; some sins “will never be wiped out” (Is. 22:14).
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Is. 18-23):
Isaiah proclaims judgment against Israel’s neighbors. What do these judgments reveal about God?
What reasons does the LORD give for removing His protection from Jerusalem in Is. 22:1-14? What does this reveal about God?