Through the Bible Day by Day
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
SOCIAL INJUSTICE CONDEMNED
The terrible indictment of the preceding paragraphs is continued here. Notice the awful monotony of the refrain, Isa_9:12; Isa_9:17; Isa_9:21; Isa_10:4. Internal anarchy spread with the rapidity of a prairie fire. Jealousy and distrust awoke murderous hatred. Even the ties of brotherhood would not avail to arrest the knife of the assassin. In the horrors of starvation men would consume their own flesh, Isa_9:20. Civil strife would exhaust the forces, which, combined with God’s blessing, might have arrested the invader. The weak would become the spoil of the strong; and there would be no appeal. What pathetic questions are suggested in Isa_10:3! What will ye do? To whom will ye flee? See Heb_9:26-28. What hope is there for the soul that has known and refused the offer of forgiveness in Jesus! Dear soul, make haste to the cleft of the Rock!
O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
THE MIGHTY LAID LOW
This question is addressed to the Assyrian invader, described as God’s staff and rod. He was the means of inflicting deserved penalty on the world of that age, and especially on the Chosen People. He had no thought of this, but considered himself free to wreak his will without reference to that Higher Power whose agent he was. But the ruthless manner in which he carried out his work was destined to come under the divine judgment, Isa_10:12-15.
The capture of Jerusalem seemed as sure as the taking of a nest of eggs. The strongest barriers that the nations could oppose to his arms had fallen before the Assyrian king; and surely the Hebrew city should not escape. But God had yet to be reckoned with, Isa_10:16-19. The conception here is borrowed from a forest fire, which begins among the brushwood and presently consumes the loftiest and stoutest trees; so would the fire of destruction be kindled during the attack on the Holy City, which finally would involve the whole Assyrian empire. Let us not fear the wrath of man. God makes some portion of it to praise Him, and He restrains the remainder.
Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled.
THE KINGDOM OF THE MESSIAH
The advance of the Assyrian along the great north road is graphically described. It was marked by raided villages and towns. The night sky was lurid with flames. But his collapse would be as sudden and irretrievable as the felling of forest timber. As the one chapter closes we can almost hear the crash of the Assyrian tree to the ground, and there is no sprout from his roots. But in the next the prophet descries a fair and healthy branch uprising from the trunk of Jesse’s line. The vision of the King is then presented, who can be none other than the divine Redeemer on whom rests the sevenfold Spirit of God. The second verse defines the work of the Comforter, and is evidently the model of that royal hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus. But remember that He on whom this divine unction rested longs to share the pentecostal gift with the least of His disciples, 1Jn_2:27. Note that as man’s sin brought travail and groaning on all creation, so will His redemption deliver it, Rom_8:19-25.