In today's lesson, God continues to list His grievances with Israel and then turns His attention to Assyria.
Isaiah Chapter 10
Lessons from the text
Tools, Intentions, and the Divine Will
Rezin king of Assyria is described as a tool in the hands of God. Let's look at that analogy.
First, we see that God has a divine will for our lives. He makes us not only to be His beloved children but also to perform a specific task. It's like our calling, but more detailed. Not only does God have the big plans for us, He also is involved in all the little aspects and actions of our lives.
Second, we see that God's will is accomplished despite Rezin's intentions. God is sovereign over the universe. Whether we admit it or not is irrelevant to God's plan being performed.
Thirdly, Rezin had a choice. Scripture implies that the axe can rail against the hewer. It won't accomplish anything, but it can be done.
Fourthly, it isn't the action that counts in the eyes of God; it's the intention of the heart.
If I do an evil deed willingly, obviously I like evil. But if I do a good thing with an ulterior motive, like elevating my ego, it's harder to see that I have done wrong.
Rezin has two options. On the one hand he can attack and defeat Israel as judgment for their sins. With justice as his motive, he could break down the idols, kill the evil judges and false prophets, and honor God by protecting and restoring the Holy Temple.
On the other hand he can choose to attack and hurt Israel to expand his kingdom. He believes that his princess should be kings and that he is so mighty that he should rule over everyone including the people and God of Israel.
In both cases the end result is the same: Israel is attacked and defeated and Assyria's borders are expanded. However, one is approved by God while the other brings judgment upon Rezin. We need to make sure that we are not only doing the will of God, but that we are doing it with the right intentions and a pure heart. Otherwise, at the end of our lives, we may be judged and condemned.
Consider Jesus' own words:
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Verse by Verse Commentary
1-2 The Jews of Isaiah's day not only did evil but they also wrote it in as law and proclaimed as just things like taking advantage of the poor and widows. On the personal level, the same applies if one endorses and teaches as right that which is wrong.
3-4 The Lord is one's help. Without Him, when troubles come, there is no refuge.
5-11 The king of Assyria, Rezin, has been given a holy charge by God to chastise Israel for their sins. However, he does not acknowledge this charge but desires to hurt Israel from his own lust for expansion. He even makes the faulty assumption that the God of Israel is like the other idols that he has destroyed when conquering; Rezin not only desires to take over Israel but also to destroy Israel's God.
12-14 God will permit Rezin to live how he wants without interference as long as his actions are performing the will of God. As soon as that task is performed, he will be judged for his own sins. God will permit evil to prosper for a time, but judgment is inevitable.
15 God is the Maker and we are His tools. It is pointless for a tool to declare itself better than the one who crafts and uses it.
16-19 Because Rezin magnifies himself and does not acknowledge his Maker, God will in one day leave Assyria bereft.
20-24 In the day that Assyria will fall, all the remnant will return and stay with the Holy One, a reference to the Messiah (Acts 2:25-27). God is moving between present, near future, and distant future events. The purpose of this transition is revealed in the next verse; God is encouraging His believers in the present with the end result of their enemies.
25 From God's perspective suffering that lasts our entire lifetime is but a "little while." God sees the big picture. When one sees it with Him, one is able to endure life with joy in the midst of suffering.
26-27 Like when God freed Israel from Egypt, God will supernaturally defeat Assyria's grip on Israel. How? Through the anointing. The in-dwelling of the Holy Ghost allows one to be freed from bondage while still being servants to other people. God promises liberation in a new, spiritual sense that surpasses all human understanding.
28-32 This passage is specific to Assyria, listing key places in the country. In the day of judgment, all the Assyrians will despise and resent Israel. This was fulfilled by about 605BC, when the Assyrian Empire had been destroyed to the point that no one knew where the major cities had been.
33 Though now referring to Assyria, God returns to the theme of bringing low the haughtiness of man found in chapters two and five. Whether among His people or the stranger, God will humble all who exalt themselves and exalt the humble (Mt 23:12).
34 Trees represent richness and vitality, and the forest of Lebanon held the strongest and most vigorous trees. With strength (iron), a mighty one will cut it down. In light of Psalm 2:7-9, this could refer to when the Son of God will rule the nations with iron. Alternately, this could refer to the unseen, divine will of God working in human history.
Please comment below to tell us what you learned from today's lesson.