We finish off Isaiah 29 by reading Isaiah 29:17-24
v17: Lebanon: Lebanon was famous for its beautiful, very large cedar trees. This pride of Lebanon was cut down (Isaiah 10:33-34) and Lebanon became just like other nations – fertile land, but no longer known for its glorious cedar trees.
- Esteemed: Thought of.
Note: The implication of this verse is that, when G-d makes a change, that which was considered great is going to be lessened (humbled) and that which was not so great is going to be exalted (Matt 23:12)
v18: In that day: A phrase that is a Scriptural clue that the context of this passage is related to the last days (Judgment Day).
- Book: The Rabbinical scholars say that this is a book (or a scroll) that has to do with G-d’s revelation. This is another change that G-d is going to bring about in the last days – those who could not hear G-d’s Word (His revelation) are going to have their ears unstopped and they are going to be able to hear it.
- The eyes of the blind shall see: In the last days illumination to going to be given to those who could previously not see it (Isaiah 44:18, 2 Cor 3:16-18)
- Obscurity (gloom) … darkness: According to the sages of old this gloom and darkness is a representation of this world. This world conceals the truth of G-d.
v19: Increase their joy in the L-rd: This is another change we are going to see in that day – G-d is going to add to those who are humble and poor. He is going to give them joy.
v20: The terrible one: A tyrant who is a source of terror (? The antichrist or a type of antichrist).
- The scornful one: Those who scoff at or mock the things of G-d are going to be brought to an end (2 Peter 3:3).
- Watch: This is a word that means to be diligent, to be hardworking or committed to something. These people are committed to wickedness and ungodliness.
- Cut off: They are going to be cut off from the covenantal promises of G-d.
v21: Note: This verse has to do with justice. In Biblical times justice was administered at the gates of a city. In this verse we see that the place where justice was supposed to be administered has become a snare to both the guilty and the innocent who were judged there. A perversion or corruption of justice happens at these gates. This ‘justice’ lacks order.
- Make a man an offender by a word: There are those who try to convict or shame an individual with just a word.
- Lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate: Instead of true justice being administered at the gate a trap is going to be laid for this (guilty) individual to cause him to be brought down in a more extreme way.
- Turn aside the just for a thing of naught: This one being brought to the gate is innocent but false words are said to cause him to appear guilty. Those judging at the gates make righteousness into nothing.
v22: Redeemed Abraham: Mention of Abraham should remind us of the Abrahamic covenant. Whenever we have a reference to Abraham we should think about G-d’s promise to Abraham and Abraham’s faith in the promises of G-d. Messiah (the promised Seed) is the One who is foundational in this covenant.
- Not now: No longer will they be ashamed. Why not? Because of the outcome of redemption.
- Pale: Having a pale face is an idiom, Biblically, for being ashamed or embarrassed (In English we would say “red-faced”) A pale face speaks about those whose colour drains out of their skin when they are exposed.
v23: He: Jacob. Jacob was passionately committed to pursuing the promises of G-d (this can be seen by him holding on to his brother’s heel, buying the birthright from Esau, wrestling with the angel etc – Gen 25:26, Gen 32:24-28)
- His children: As has been said previously: the rabbis say that whenever there is a reference to the next generation it is an indicator that we need to prepare for the coming of Messiah, as the ‘next generation’ might be the last generation (the Kingdom generation – the generation within which G-d works to fulfil His covenantal promises and establish His Kingdom). G-d is putting together His plans to bring about a change through the ‘next generation’ (an example of this would be similar to the 40 years spent in the wilderness. G-d waited for the 1st generation, and their bad habits, to die in the wilderness. He was able to work with the second/next generation and take them into the Promised Land).
- Hallow: Sanctify. Sanctification has to do with the plans and purposes of G-d.
- The Holy One of Jacob: Referring to the G-d of Jacob. This name of G-d shows a close relationship between G-d and Jacob.
- Fear: To fear G-d means to give Him priority. G-d is going to cause a change to happen in them. They are no longer going to be rebellious, pervert justice, be disobedient or prideful. They are going to begin to give G-d priority in every aspect of their lives.
v24: Erred in spirit: Went astray. They have not followed the leadership of the Spirit of G-d.
- Murmured: Complained. Those who have not rejoiced in the things of G-d – like the children of Israel in the wilderness. Those in the wilderness did not want to go where G-d was taking them. They did not want to learn what G-d was teaching them.
- Will learn doctrine: Those who did not want to do the things that G-d wanted them to do are going to experience a change. They are going to learn the lessons that G-d wants to teach them.
Note: G-d in His faithfulness is going to bring a glorious and miraculous change to Jacob, to Israel, to His covenant people, so that the Kingdom promises may be fulfilled in the last days.