We kick off this week with Isaiah 30:8-17
v8: Before them: In their presence.
- Note it: Make it into a law, legislate it. What G-d is saying is that Isaiah can write this down, he can engrave it and make it into an eternal law, because what G-d has said will come to be.
- For time to come (ie the last day) forever and ever (until eternity): These words set this within a last day’s context and it has Kingdom implications.
v9: People: Referring to the children of Israel.
- Who will not hear the law: They do not want to know what righteousness is. They are not interested in the purposes of G-d. They are not motivated by what is pleasing to the L-rd. This is informing us of what the spiritual condition of Israel will be like in the last days before G-d brings about a glorious change in them.
v10: Seers: These are the ones who see visions.
- Do not see: They do not want revelation from G-d. They think that there is no reason for them to be concerned.
- Smooth things (Flattery): Words that are pleasing, words that are smooth – ie in agreement with their desires.
- Deceits (that which is false): They have misplaced hopes and desires, and they want these false hopes and desires to be affirmed. They are not interested in the truth but want to hear and believe what they want to hear and believe. This is also what characterises a large group within the body of believers (1 John 2:18-19) in the last days (2 Tim 4:3-4).
v11: Get out of the way, turn aside from the path: The people are turning to the faithful and G-dly leaders (eg Isaiah) and telling them to get off the good and right path that they are on.
- The Holy One: The word ‘holy’ is related to the purposes of G-d. The people do not want the purposes of G-d. They do not want righteousness, or anything connected to the plans and purposes of G-d.
v12: Despise: Strong feeling of rejection or disdain.
- Trust in oppression and perversity: They have trusted in the wrong things.
v13: Wall: Related to security.
- A bulge in a high wall: They were unable to see their weakness, it was out of their line of vision.
- Breaking: Another word for destruction
- Suddenly … in an instant: Without warning this destruction will suddenly be upon them.
v14: He shall not spare: There will not be any lessening. There will not be any movement of G-d (regret, mercy or pity) when He brings this judgment.
- Not be found among its fragments a shard: This judgment is going to be so thorough, and the ‘pottery’ (Jer 18:1-11, Roms 9:20-23) shattered into such small pieces, that no pieces big enough will be found to scoop up the fire and water to take them to another place.
- Fire… water: Both of these elements are related to judgment. G-d’s judgment is coming and nothing will be able to stop or remove it.
Verse 15: “For thus said the L-rd G-d, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and comfort you will be saved, in quietness and trusting will be your power.’ But you would not.”
Said: This verb is written in the past tense and not in the present tense (ie says) – even though it is yet a future event. G-d is absolutely committed to bringing this about and so, from His standpoint, it is as good as done, it is as good as has already taken place.
- Returning: This is a word that is related to repentance. It could also be a word related to Him returning to His people (renewing His presence/His activity among the people).
- Comfort: This is a word that could be related to rest or a word that could also be related to retribution (G-d takes comfort in His judgment against His enemies as it manifests His righteousness).
- In returning and comfort you will be saved: G-d has just been speaking to them about the horrific judgment that they are going to experience, but then His language abruptly changes, and He (mercifully and graciously) tells them what they can do in order to be saved.
- Quietness: They are not bringing about their own deliverance. It will not be brought about through their deeds or activities.
- Trusting: This is a word that shows dependence.
- Power: This is the power that is related to salvation (Roms 1:16). It is a power that enables people to take hold of their deliverance and therefore live as a victorious people.
- But you would not: This is the problem. G-d can save them, but they do not want what G-d has to offer. It was because of their rejection of G-d that the people went into a very hard and a very long exile.
v16: No: They do not want G-d to deliver them. They want to make their own plans and do it in their own ways. They want to do anything in their power so as not to have to rely on G-d. Foolishly they think that their way is the best way. We need to realise that our way is NEVER the best way.
- Those who pursue you shall be swift: The implication here is that although they are on swift horses the horses of their pursuers will be even swifter. They will not be able to escape.
v17: Pole: Referring to a flagpole that has no flag. It is an empty flagpole. It will be as though the nation did not exist. For a moment not even the remnant of Israel is going to be seen. The situation is going to look dreadful and hopeless.