Isaiah 22:1, 2
The burden of the valley of vision. What ails you now, that you are wholly gone up to the housetops?
The "valley of vision" is, without doubt, Jerusalem, though Mr. Birks thinks Samaria may be meant. The Prophet Isaiah speaks thus poetically of it as the place where he had his visions. Now he sees the people hurrying, in great excitement, on to the fiat roofs of the city, to watch the gathering hosts of Sennacherib's army. The attitude of the people surprised him. At such a time, when pestilence decimated the inhabitants, the leading citizens had fled to secure their personal safety, and the enemy was at the very door, he looked for humiliation before God, or at least the calmness of a noble courage; but alas! even in such an hour it was a "tumultuous city, a joyous city."
I. JOY IS ILL-TIMED WHEN IT EXPRESSES SELF-SECURITY. Foolish notions of the impregnability of their city possessed the Jews, in spite of the fact that it had been taken. Self-reliance blinded them to the elements of weakness in themselves, and to the strength and energy of their foes. We have heard many a man laugh at threatened danger, and say, "I am safe," and show, as Jerusalem did, the folly of joy with no better basis than self-security.
II. JOY IS ILL TIMED WHEN IT EXPRESSES THE RECKLESSNESS OF DESPAIR. Some think that was rather the spirit of Jerusalem at this time - the spirit which says, "Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die" (see vers. 12, 13). Self-restraint is very dependent on hope. Illustrate by the wild excitement and foolish things done when shipwreck is imminent; or by the riotings of the man who knows he is within an hour of bankruptcy. "I said of laughter, It is mad." There is an old saying which explains such reckless, heartless joy: "Whom the gods would destroy they first dement." All such joy is foolish and perilous, especially because it keeps men from the duty of the hour, the doing of which might be the means of delivering them from the danger.
III. JOY IS ILL TIMED WHENEVER IT HAS NO ROOTAGE OF RELIANCE ON GOD. Joy in God is the foundation of all joy. We can rejoice in what we possess; for it is God-given. We can rejoice in what we lose; for the Lord taketh away. We can rejoice in the future; for "the Lord doth provide." We can rejoice in the darkness and peril; for "he that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?