As I think of Israel today, my heart mourns for its people. I long for the day when Jacob will take hold of the Lord’s strength and make peace with the Lord as mentioned in Isaiah 27. I want the Lord to guard Israel and care for it. I dread the thought that it will be trampled and burned.
I want Jacob to take root and for Israel to bud and flower so that it fills the whole world with a harvest. That would be an awesome sight although many in the Middle East would hate to see that happen at this point in time.
Unfortunately, my desires are out of my control. In this passage from Isaiah, I see that God is not just a god of love; though He is merciful, He is also just. He executes judgment at the right time with the right amount of force or discipline.
According to Isaiah, the Lord wanted the idolatrous altars removed from the land of Israel forever. The desire to worship idols and offer incense to foreign gods also needed to be removed from the hearts of God’s people. In Isaiah’s time, this may have been accomplished to some degree through exile in Babylon. The idols have taken different forms now. What will it take now to bring people to the Lord?
Isaiah 27:10-13 describes the desolate city of Jerusalem. The prophet said dead tree branches will be broken off and burned. These branches represent people who were spiritually dead. These people had no understanding of spiritual things. They were pursuing lives of lawlessness and the Lord was not willing to show them mercy. The same can be said of people throughout the world today.
A harvest of souls will be separated; some are wheat and some are weeds or tares. In Matthew 13:30, Jesus said, “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”” Isaiah indicates this will be in the day that the great trumpet is blown–the day of Christ’s return.
People will come to Israel from the surrounding nations such as Egypt and Assyria. This is not referring to the aliyah (return) that people are making to Israel today but to a time yet in the future—the time of the end. When that time comes, people will worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem. No one will forbid or stop them from doing so.
The Lord will remove the priests and prophets who are drunk from drinking wine, erring in vision, and stumbling in judgment. Isaiah 28:5-6 says, “In that day the Lord of hosts will be For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty To the remnant of His people, 6 For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, And for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.”
If the priests and prophets are drunk on wine, how can the people learn anything? Merciful acts of charity are wonderful but the Lord wants us His people to learn knowledge and understand the message He is trying to convey too. Everyone, including young children have to learn “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”
Is this how the Lord had to teach Israel in the past? It seems so but it also sounds as if the Lord will bring foreigners to teach His people in this manner now and in the future. They will teach with stammering lips and another tongue to speak to His people so that they can be saved (Isaiah 28:11).
The Lord wants the people of Israel to hear the word of the Lord but they scorn the teachings. Instead, they’ve made a covenant with death. They don’t fear the scourge that’s coming because they have trusted in their deceitful lies to be their refuge. Israel shouldn’t do this, they should trust the Lord.
The Lord Jesus is the precious cornerstone. Everyone who puts their trust in the Lord will not be put to shame. Jesus used the law to make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line. He spoke clearly and taught with authority. He did not teach them anything they weren’t supposed to already know.
Isaiah said that hail will sweep away the refuge of lies which they trusted in. I believe the hail being referred to in Isaiah 28:17 is prophesied in Revelation 8:7, 11:19, and 16:21. In addition to hail, water will overflow their hiding place. When Israel’s trust in lies is removed, they must reach out to Truth. They must reach out to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and live righteously. Before they do that, their covenant with death will be annulled and they will be attacked and terrorized. One thing is sure; the Lord plans destruction to fall upon the whole earth.
The end has been predetermined from the beginning. No one can bring about the end of days or force the fulfillment of prophecy. It will come according to God’s time-table.
We must be teachable. We must listen to what the Lord wants us to hear. We must ask Him to help us understand His word, give us counsel, and to guide us in these last days.