Isaiah 30:19-33

It’s so funny how one week everything seems fine. We’re growing spiritually, we feel like we’re getting closer to God. But then the very next week, it all comes crashing down. Last week I shared how excited I was about studying Isaiah. But as soon as I started preparing for the second part of Isaiah 30, I thought, “Man, I don’t want to study Isaiah anymore!” Then I began to wonder, “Why is it our natural habit to want to go back to Egypt? Why do we always seem to go back to our old sinful ways, rather than trusting and waiting on God?” But then I realized, even though we do this, God’s love is so amazing. Even though we fall back into our sins time and time again (18), God is still gracious enough to wait on us.

And what’s even more amazing, is how God responds to us when finally do repent and come back to him. God doesn’t say, “You know? I’m sick and tired of this pal. You’re too late my friend. You had your chance.” But rather, the last part of verse 19 says that God’s grace is so abounding that as soon as we “cry for help”, God hears and answers us. And how does God answer? He answers with three beautiful promises; He promises he will give us spiritual regeneration, he will give us physical blessings, and finally he will defeat all our enemies.

Isaiah 30:1-18

The Huge Assyrian Empire was on their way to Judah to wipe out their entire nation. Naturally, they wanted to seek help. And I quite honestly, don’t blame them. A few years ago, a bunch of us from our church went on a canoe camping trip. Well, there came a point where I almost drowned. And instead of calling out to God for help, I called out for my friends to help me out. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with this, but the point is, God never crossed my mind even once. Of course, this is nothing compared to being attacked by a world power nation. If I died, it just would have been me. But we’re talking about the annihilation of an entire nation. And not just any nation, but God’s chosen nation.

Isaiah 29:1-14

In this chapter, Isaiah speaks of both God’s judgment and his hope for restoration of the nation of Israel. Today, we want to think about these two aspects of God’s nature so as to understand Him on a more fundamental level. The prayer is that when we see this full picture of God more clearly, we may be naturally drawn to worship and love him.

Woe to you, Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled!

We often ascribe feelings of righteous anger and judgment to the word, “woe”. This only captures part of the sentiment behind this word. If we want to get the full thrust of this, we must look at the context. Jerusalem was a city filled with a people whom God dearly loved, a people he rescued out of slavery centuries ago in order to be his own treasured possession. He graciously gave them a sacrificial system so that they could atone for their sins. In fact, the city where David settled, Jerusalem was the site of Solomon’s temple wherein the altar was repeatedly kindled in order to consume sacrifices for the sin of the nation. This reminded them of the LORD’s mercy to forgive their sins and also taught them about the costliness of sin, that it literally consumed life itself. Ariel, which means alter hearth (the part of the altar upon which sacrifices were consumed by fire), was then a fitting name for Jerusalem.