The glorious beauty and the plenty of the land is but a fading flower to those who indulge themselves in sensuality and drunkenness.
God will throw it to the ground to be broken in pieces with a hand they are powerless to oppose and will not suffer either His providences or His ordinances to be brought into utter contempt.
1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.
3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.
5 ¶ In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,
6 And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
7 ¶ But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
9 ¶ Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
14 ¶ Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 ¶ Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18 ¶ And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
21 For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.
22 Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.
23 ¶ Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.
24 Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?
25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?
26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.
27 For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.
28 Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.
29 This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 28:1-13 – The Decay of an Intemperate People
A new series of prophecies begins here and extends to Isaiah 32:20. Samaria is described as a faded crown or garland on the nation’s head because it was disgraced by the national drunkenness. See Amos 4:1. So corrupted was she by strong drink and its attendant evils that the Assyrian invader would plunder her as a man gathers ripe figs. But to Judah, that is, the remnant, the Lord would be a crown or garland, not of pride but of glory. His beauty would not be as a fading flower, but a lasting diadem. What wine is to the sensuous man, that God is to the spiritual. See Ephesians 5:18. You that have to form right judgments, and you that have to turn the battle from the gate, will find all your need in Him. In Isaiah 28:7-8 we have a terrible picture of widespread effects of strong drink; and in Isaiah 28:9-10 the prophet recites the ribald remarks addressed to himself by the roisterers of those evil days. He replies that God would Himself answer them by the stern accents of the Assyrian tongue, which would sound like stammering, Isaiah 28:11; and this would befall them because they would not need the wooing accents of His love, Isaiah 28:12. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 28:5—A crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty.
What many, like the drunkards of Ephraim, as described here, seek in the exhilarating stimulus of wine, God’s people seek and find in Himself! Notice the variety of his attributes. There is something for every one. Are you eager for glory? There is no reputation or fame equal to having his smile, the consciousness of being well pleasing to Him—He will be “a crown of glory.” Do you recognize the deformity and unloveliness of your character, and desire beauty? He will be “a diadem of beauty.” Do you desire a right judgment in all things, so as to be able to direct large and important undertakings? He will be “a spirit of judgment,” when you will be in judgment. Submit your judgment to Him, that He may think through your mind, or direct you to a just conclusion. Are there days when the enemy threaten to carry your soul by assault, and is already at the gates? Then turn to Jesus, and He will be your strength. Yes, and in great crises, when evil is predominant, and the citadel of faith and righteousness threatens to be submerged before the weltering chaos, when no other help is near, as you look to the Captain of the Lord’s Host, you will suddenly find yourself enabled to roll back the dark battalions, in the very hour of victory.
Let us live in closer fellowship with our glorious Lord. They who receive the abundance of his grace shall reign. Out of his fullness may all receive, and grace for grace. “In that day” on Christ’s lips always meant the day of Pentecost; and it is only through the grace of the Holy Spirit that we can avail ourselves of the treasured resources of the Ascended Christ.
“He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed.” —Our Daily Homily
Isaiah 28:14-29 – Truth the only Refuge
In the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign the Jewish leaders had made an alliance with Assyria, on whom they relied to protect them against any and all foes. But the prophet told them plainly that they would be disappointed, and that when the Assyrian scourge passed through the land toward Egypt, it would involve them also in disaster, Isaiah 28:18. Then he broke out with this sublime description of the only foundation of security that could never fail. The deep meaning of this prediction of the precious corner-stone is unfolded in later Scriptures, Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20; I Peter 2:7. Christ was tried by Satan and by man: He is precious: He unites the walls of Jew and Gentile that were at right-angles to each other. All our excuses and professions are too short and too narrow when God enters into judgment. Outside of Christ there is neither peace nor safety. See that thou buildest Him a holy character of gold, silver, and precious stones, I Corinthians 3:10, etc. —Through the Bible Day by Day