God sometimes makes an idolatrous nation that serves Him not at all,
a scourge to a hypocritical nation that serves Him not in sincerity and truth.
Yet when God has done His work through the idolatrous nation,
He will certainly do His work upon them and their day will come to fall because they have not had God in all their thoughts.
1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
4 Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
5 ¶ O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
8 For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings?
9 Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus?
10 As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria;
11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
13 For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:
14 And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.
16 Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
17 And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;
18 And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.
19 And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.
20 ¶ And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.
22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.
24 ¶ Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.
25 For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction.
26 And the LORD of hosts shall stir up a scourge for him according to the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb: and as his rod was upon the sea, so shall he lift it up after the manner of Egypt.
27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.
28 He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages:
29 They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
30 Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim: cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth.
31 Madmenah is removed; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee.
32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.
34 And he shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 9:18-21 – 10:4 – Social Injustice Condemned
The terrible indictment of the preceding paragraphs is continued here. Notice the awful monotony of the refrain, Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21; Isaiah 10:4. Internal anarchy spread with the rapidity of a prairie fire. Jealousy and distrust awoke murderous hatred. Even the ties of brotherhood would not avail to arrest the knife of the assassin. In the horrors of starvation men would consume their own flesh, Isaiah 9:20. Civil strife would exhaust the forces, which, combined with God’s blessing, might have arrested the invader. The weak would become the spoil of the strong; and there would be no appeal. What pathetic questions are suggested in Isaiah 10:3! What will ye do? To whom will ye flee? See Hebrews 9:26-28. What hope is there for the soul that has known and refused the offer of forgiveness in Jesus! Dear soul, make haste to the cleft of the Rock! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 10:5-19 – The Mighty Laid Low
This question is addressed to the Assyrian invader, described as God’s staff and rod. He was the means of inflicting deserved penalty on the world of that age, and especially on the Chosen People. He had no thought of this, but considered himself free to wreak his will without reference to that Higher Power whose agent he was. But the ruthless manner in which he carried out his work was destined to come under the divine judgment, Isaiah 10:12-15.
The capture of Jerusalem seemed as sure as the taking of a nest of eggs. The strongest barriers that the nations could oppose to his arms had fallen before the Assyrian king; and surely the Hebrew city should not escape. But God had yet to be reckoned with, Isaiah 10:16-19. The conception here is borrowed from a forest fire, which begins among the brushwood and presently consumes the loftiest and stoutest trees; so would the fire of destruction be kindled during the attack on the Holy City, which finally would involve the whole Assyrian empire. Let us not fear the wrath of man. God makes some portion of it to praise Him, and He restrains the remainder. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 10:15—Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?
The Assyrian thought that he was acting on his own impulse, and in his pride congratulated himself on his exploits. The prophet reminded him that it was not so. He was only an axe, a saw, a rod, in the hand of the Eternal God whose supremacy he was inclined to challenge and set at nought.
This thought underlay the apostle’s reply to those who magnified him against Apollos or Cephas. What are we, he cries, but ministers through whom ye believed, even as God granted to each of us? We are only instruments of God’s husbandry, implements through which He fulfils his plans (I Corinthians 3). It dates an era in the life, when we cease to work for God, and allow God to work through us.
Thoughts like these correct alike pride and despondency. Pride, because whatever is the result of our work, we can no more take the credit of it than the pen that wrote the “Paradise Lost” could take to itself the credit of its production. At the best, it is not you, but the grace of God that was with you. You are only a pipe in the organ, but the breath that educed your music was divine. And in despondency it is very helpful to remember that if we are nothing, God is all-sufficient; if we have failed, it is the more needful for Him to exert more power. Throw back the responsibility of all results on God. Only see to it that you are a polished shaft, an unblunted saw, and leave Him to do through you what He will.
“So, take and use thy work!
Amend what flaws may lurk,
What strain o’ the stuff, what warpings past the aim!
My times are in thy hand!
Perfect the cup as plann’d!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!” —Our Daily Homily
Isaiah 10:20-32 – A Remnant Shall Return
Notice the effect of the Assyrian invasion. The survivors would once again return to stay themselves on God, Isaiah 10:20. It is a remarkable expression! Let us ponder carefully Isaiah 10:20-21. We are reminded of Cardinal Merger’s famous pastoral letter, written after the desolation of Belgium, “Men long unaccustomed to prayer are turning again to God. Nor is that prayer a word learned by rote; it surges up from the troubled heart, and takes its form at the feet of God by the very sacrifice of life.” It is evidently necessary that God, from time to time, should break up the foundations of human society in order that men may be awakened to consider the elemental realities of God and the soul, Isaiah 10:24-27. The destruction of Sennacherib is anticipated as resembling the overthrow of Midian by Gideon, and of Egypt in the Red Sea. Then the burden and yoke would be destroyed, so far as Jerusalem was concerned, in answer to the anointed priests who had pleaded for her deliverance. But how much more will the prayer of our anointed Savior bring help to us! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 10:33-34 – The Kingdom of the Messiah
The advance of the Assyrian along the great north road is graphically described. It was marked by raided villages and towns. The night sky was lurid with flames. But his collapse would be as sudden and irretrievable as the felling of forest timber. As the one chapter closes we can almost hear the crash of the Assyrian tree to the ground, and there is no sprout from his roots. But in the next the prophet descries a fair and healthy branch uprising from the trunk of Jesse’s line. —Through the Bible Day by Day