Bible Study: Isaiah 34:1-35:10
These chapters conclude the series of woes against the Jews with the promise of judgment and restoration.
Isaiah Chapter 34, 35
Lessons from the text
The Payment for Sin
If you do not accept Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins, your future is not pleasant. God is righteous. He demands that we, too, be righteous (Mt 5:48). The Ten Commandments set God’s expectations of righteousness. As Paul says, the Law of god is our schoolmaster teaching us right from wrong (Rom 3:20).
It would be unfair of God to demand that we behave a certain way without disclosing His standards. That’s why we have the Scriptures and the conscience. Both inform us of what God expects from us. If we fail to live up to those expectations, we are in a world of hurt.
Have you ever lied about something someone has done? Then you have broken the Ninth Commandment and are guilty before a righteous God. What about stealing? Just swiping a classmate’s pencil when no one is looking breaks the Eighth Commandment.
Even if you dodged those two examples, I guarantee you have at some point in your life broken the Tenth Commandment: Thou shalt not covet. If you have ever wished you had something which belongs to someone else, then you are guilty. Plain and simple, everyone has in some form or fashion broken at least one of the Ten Commandments. That makes us all guilty before God.
So, what happens when I am guilty before God?
What happens when I break an earthly law? If found guilty, I must pay a penalty for the wrong I have committed. Even so, there is a penalty to be paid for every sin I commit against God. What is that penalty? Death (Rom 6:23).
Since we have all sinned, we all owe God our life as payment for our transgression. Is there a way out? Yes. By acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as the sacrifice for your sins, God will accept Jesus’ death at the cross as payment instead of your death. That is how Jesus takes your place on the cross; He bore the punishment that is due to you.
But what if you don’t accept Jesus? Then, my friend, you still owe God payment for your sins. How can you pay Him? Can you just die and that be the price and then live forever in heaven? No. While there is a physical death all humans must face, there is a spiritual death for the sinner. Those who are justified and deemed righteous through faith in Christ will have eternal life, but those who owe God will have to pay Him throughout all of eternity with their spiritual death in hell (Rev 20:14). The fire is everlasting because nothing you can give God could ever repay Him for your sin.
All of that just for stealing a pencil when I was a kid? I’m afraid the answer is, yes.
By choosing to commit one sin, you have chosen wickedness over righteousness. By refusing to repent of that sin and turn to God and His ways, you have clung to your wickedness and rejected salvation. Without Christ having made payment for your sins, it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb 10:31). Don’t face eternity still owing God for your sins when Jesus has given you a way out of debt if you’ll only accept it.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 After the promise of heaven and hell from chapter 33, God expands His judgment to all people. God is not partial in judgment, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23).
2-3 Because of sin, God will destroy the nations. All the enemies of the Lord will one day be gathered together in battle and slain by God Himself. See Revelation 19:11-21, 20:7-10.
4 Sin affects not only man but also the earth and, thanks to satan, has stained heaven. Therefore, God will make all things new (Rev 21:1,5). He will destroy this world and the sinners as a purging sacrifice (the lambs and goats). Jesus is one's sacrifice for sin. To reject Him means that one still owes God the payment for sin, which is death (Rom 6:23).
7-8 It does not pay to be wicked. God will pour out all of His wrath on the ungodly, thus satisfying His requirement for justice and holiness. On this day He will make one accountable for one's sins and reconcile the Jews to once again be His holy people. As chapter 33 teaches, the wicked will be destroyed while the righteous will be exalted.
9 God made humans stewards over the earth (Gen 2:15). When one sins, whatever one touches is now defiled (Hag 2:13-14). One's sin therefore has wide-reaching consequences, even to the point that the land can be cursed because of one's sin (Gen 3:17). That is why it is so important that one takes care of whatever is in one's charge.
10-17 While Jerusalem was laid waste for a time during the Babylonian captivity, it was restored. This section, then, is to be taken spiritually. One is to search the book of the Lord (the Bible) and see that God's prophecies and declarations are always fulfilled. The wicked will inherit a terrible, ruined land from generation to generation, that is, forever. This land will have a fire that will never be quenched. Why seek for riches and earthly glory when it leads to confusion and emptiness?
1-10 God promises to make the barren land blossom. He can take what is waste and turn it into something fruitful. That is why one has to be patient to see deliverance and restoration. God will come to those who wait on Him. This promise is one's strength—it encourages one to press on for the Lord, even if it is just one day at a time. If one holds on, then God promises to heal all physical ailments and create a path to righteousness so simple that even a foolish person can follow it without error. No harm will come to those who take this path because only the redeemed will walk on it. What a wonderful promise of healing and everlasting joy!
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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