There is a day fixed in the divine counsels for the deliverance of God’s people and cause in the earth and the destruction of all enemies a year of recompense for the controversy of Zion.
Those who make the Book of the Lord their meditation and rule of life,
will have complete deliverance from the coming judgment of nations (v. 16).
1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.
3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.
4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.
6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.
7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.
8 For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.
9 And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
11 ¶ But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.
13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.
14 The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.
15 There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.
16 ¶ Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
17 And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 34:1-17 – Reaping the Whirlwind
This chapter is one prolonged description of the judgments which were to befall the nations at the hand of Assyria and Babylon. The imagery employed is borrowed from the destruction of the cities of the plain. Streams of pitch; dust of brimstone; the ever-ascending smoke of a furnace; the scream of the eagle, hawk, and owl; the invasion of palaces by the thistle; the howl of the wolf; the call of the jackal; the arrow-snakes nest; the kite with its mate—such are the illustrations employed to depict the scorching desolations which were impending. Edom is especially mentioned as suffering these awful desolations because of her long-standing hatred of Israel. See Psalm 137:7; Ezekiel 36:5; Lamentations 4:21-22. These terrible and graphic predictions have been literally fulfilled, but they foreshadow those further and eternal disasters which must overtake willful and designed rejection of the divine purposes and laws. Are not all nations at this hour standing before the Son of man and being judged? See Matthew 25:31. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 34:8—The day of the LORD’s vengeance, and the year of recompense.
These chapters remind us that there is a God that judgeth in the earth. The tendency of the present day is to reduce all things to the operation of natural law, and to crowd God out of his own world; as though He had no longer as much power as a judge or magistrate to inflict punishment! Here He comes out of the silence of eternity to avenge the wrongs of his people perpetrated upon them by Edom. The Jews could never forget that when they were in the extremity of their conflict with Babylon, Edom rejoiced and said (Psalm 137:7), “Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.” Now, at length, God would vindicate his people, and punish the proud land whose sins cried to Heaven.
Let us remember that God works not only through natural law, but by sudden manifest interpositions of his providence; and when He arises on behalf of the meek, the result is not only terrible but lasting. It seems as though God’s judgment on Edom and other peoples, which has left their lands as desolate scars on the face of the earth, are instances of the permanence of God’s decrees, and of their irreversibleness: “The smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever” (Isaiah 34:10). It was often told by the Waldenses, how the prince that broke the covenant with them and drove them across the Swiss mountains, died of a broken heart at the death of his first-born.
God does not appear always to avenge the wrongs of his people in the present life. The wicked pass away amid their ill-gotten prosperity, but in the next world their evil deeds come back to roost in their own hearts. —Our Daily Homily