THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

A Prophecy for the Next King

Isaiah 32 SCC 8/18/13

This chapter focuses on the future government of a Righteous King in Jerusalem. This was what Hezekiah should have been. He came close in his faith, seen in 37:14-20, 30.

A GODLY KING AND HIS GOVERNMENT WILL RULE 32:1-8

Isaiah proceeded to reveal more about these times. This Kingdom will fully transform society.

Verse 1: The king and the princes of the future will not panic but will rule righteously. This is Messiah who embodies righteousness. His princes are His executives, His vice-regents. They stand in contrast to the unrighteous princes of Judah who advocated alliance with Egypt. There seems to be a purposeful ambiguity so that Hezekiah (possibly the immediate fulfillment of 7:14-15) and the coming Messiah (the ultimate fulfillment cf. 7:14, cf. Matt 1:23) are both reflected in this passage. So the transformation of society begins with the leadership.

Verse 2: This verse describes in "desert" metaphors the reign of this godly leader and his associates.

1. A refuge from the wind

2. Shelter from the storm

3. Streams of water in a dry country (hiking and the need for water)

4. The shade of a huge rock in a parched land

Each of these rulers will be a person of integrity and will be a source of provision and refreshment for the people of God, providing every beneficial care as a refuge, a shelter, streams of water, and shade. So these are things that bring refreshment when in trouble of some sort like from wind, a storm, dry country, and parched land.

Verse 3-4: This reflects the spiritual condition of the restored covenant people as contrasted with 6:9-10. God will transform all the shortcomings of humanity. Physical, but mainly spiritual, transformation is in view. People will perceive, receive, understand, and communicate the truth as they would not and could not before. So eyes, ears, minds and tongues, these physical conveyances will only deliver information that edifies and clarifies.

Verse 5: The characters of the naÔve moron and the unscrupulous will experience transformation as well. These two groups will still be present in society, but they will be seen for what they are.

Verse 6-8: These verses expound further on the changes that will take place in fools and rogues. Their present characteristics are all too familiar, but these will change with the coming of Messiah.

1. The "fool" described in v 6: a. speaks nonsense; b. inclines the heart toward wickedness by

(1) Practices ungodliness; and (2) speaks error against the Lord.

c. does not feed the hungry; and d. does not give drink to the thirsty

2. The "rogue" described in v 7: a. has evil weapons; b. devises wicked schemes; c. destroys the afflicted with slander; d. disregards the true testimony of the needy

3. The ďnobleĒ man v. 8: a. devises noble (or "generous") plans in contrast to those mentioned in v 6 and 7; b. his plans stand, remain

Fools disregard their moral and spiritual obligations. Rogues work deviously for their own advantage at the expense of others. In contrast, noble people are liberally outgoing to God and others. So the fabric of society will be completely transformed. (Guthrie and diversity class)

REPENTANCE IS A BASIC COMPONENT OF THIS GOVERNMENT FOR BLESSING

32:9-18

Verse 9: The women of Judah blandly assumed that nothing would disturb their present secure circumstances. Isaiah challenged them to listen to him. They were not secure.

Verse 10: In just over a year something devastating would happen that would preclude the harvest of grapes that they must have anticipated eagerly. This is a very specific time reference (possibly connected to the harvest season) and seems to relate to the invasion of Sennacherib in 701B.C.

Verse 11-12: These women needed to prepare for captivity and to mourn at the prospect of an enemy invasion and its consequences. All of these relate to the period of the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701B.C. Sieges were horrible experiences of deprivation and disease.

Verse 13-14: Land once cultivated would become deserted, and their homes, even the palaces, would be left empty. Animals would occupy what humans formerly inhabited. In other words, the devastation caused by Sennacheribís wind would be completed by Nebuchadnezzarís whirlwind. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C., 115 years after Sennacherib besieged it in 701 B.C. God wanted to uniquely bless the people of the covenant to attract the attention of "the nations," but because of Israel and Judah's rebellion, instead of abundance and peace came thorns and briarsóthis is the people themselves. Isaiah trusts God's word, but His promises must be matched by appropriate human faith and obedience. Covenant is a two-way street! So there are real consequences that create baggage and are worthy of judgment related to our refusal to repent.

Verse 15: These reversals would not be final, however. In response to repentance Godís Spirit would affect an even greater change later in the future. Then the wilderness would become fertile, and what was presently considered fertile would become a veritable jungle full of large plants in it. The creation will burgeon, the divine curse will be removed, and the damage that sin has caused will be reversed. So there is a series of seven blessings that will result because of the Spirit's presence: (1) fertility, (2) justice, (3) righteousness, (4) peace, (5) quietness, (6) confidence, and (7) secure dwelling.

Verse 16-17: Justice and righteousness will be everywhere. The effects of this righteousness will be peace, rest, and security. This will come about because people will be right with God. The person who has received the grace of Godís forgiveness is at peace with God. Knowing himself to be at peace with the Sovereign of the universe, it is no longer necessary to project his own turmoil upon those around him. Furthermore, the person for whom Godís character has become central will be less likely to oppress others in a frantic attempt to supply his or her own needs. The work and service of righteousness denote the kind of society where all people are honored and treated fairly as covenant partners.

Verse 18: Godís people who responded to these appeals to men in 31:6 and women in 32:9 would live free from external threats, not erroneously thinking they were secure.

THIS TRANSFORMED KINGDOM DEVASTATES OPPOSITION AND HONORS THE RIGHTEOUS32:19-20

Judgment and glory both lay ahead for the Israelites, and it was time for them to choose to return to the Lord. God has revealed the distant future as well as the immediate future so people will get right with Him now.

Verse 19: The hail may be representing Godís devastating intervention in human life, both the Assyrian soldiers soon and the fallen world later. He would devastate Jerusalem soon and rebellious humankind later. So willful sinful rebellion will be confronted by God.

Verse 20: The blessed residents of the land in the distant future will enjoy the best existence, represented here in a pastoral setting. They will be in right relation to God having responded to His invitations to return to and hear the Lord. Their blessing will consist of divine favor, personal fulfillment and total rectitude. In the days of God's blessings, the crops will be so abundant that the cattle could roam freely and eat without really affecting the outcome of the crop.

So in the near future, the people of Judah could experience a measure of deliverance from the Assyrians by repenting. Some of them did repent. Sennacherib was not able to take Jerusalem even though he devastated much of Judah. In the far future, the Israelites will enjoy salvation from all their enemies because they will repent at the second coming of Christ. This did not take place after the Exile or after Pentecost on the scale that Isaiah envisioned here. God does not wait for people to repent before He acts in mercy. Rather the goodness of God leads people to repentance.

SO WHAT?

1. Leadership is being an influence for change. That change in Godís economy is toward righteousness and integrity with the purpose of benefitting those ruled so they are refreshed and provided for.

2. We should always pursue the priorities of Godís kingdom and in terms of human responsibility there is no greater priority that repenting. Develop a lifestyle of repentance. You may still get in trouble and need to repent more than once. At least you do not accept your sin. Deal with it.

3. Righteous leadership and repentant citizens is the character of the kingdom to come. While that kingdom is on its way, and will soon arrive, live as if you are a citizen of it until it does.