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Isaiah 9.8 - 10.4

posted 18 Nov 2013, 03:47 by Ben@theorderoftheblacksheep.com
The Lord has dispatched a word against Jacob;
    it will come down hard on Israel.
All the people of Ephraim and the citizens of its capital Samaria will know.
    In their pride and arrogance they say:
10 Hey! The walls have collapsed, but this gives us a chance to rebuild
    better than it was before with the best stones instead of brick.
The invaders may have chopped down the sycamores,
    but we will plant cedars in their place.”
11 But the Eternal stirs up Rezin’s enemies to move against Israel
    and arouses all their foes to join them.
12 They come, these enemies, from both sides (Syrians on the east and Philistines on the west)
    and consume Israel, swallowing it whole.
Still, God’s anger smolders.
    His hand is raised; there’s more to come.

13 But the people don’t return to God after all His punishment.
    They don’t change their ways and right their paths
To seek the Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies.
14 Therefore, He will take them to task.
    In a single day He’ll cut off from Israel the head and the tail;
He’ll cut down the noble palm and lowly reed.
15 The head are those charged with leadership—political and religious—
    who used their power in the worst possible ways;
And the tail are the prophets who slur their lies.
16 These misguided leaders have misled this people;
    and those who follow have become swallowed up in their deceit.
17-18 Even now the Lord takes no joy in a single one, not even the young.
    Mercy has run out for even those without power—the widows and orphans.
For every single person is at fault and behaves badly.
    No one thinks or acts as God would have them do.
Every mouth utters foolishness like a wildfire, out of control;
    wickedness rages, leveling and clearing briars and thorns;
Forests and thickets burn, leaving the whole a smoking heap.
    Still, God’s anger smolders. His hand is raised; there’s more to come.
19 The Eternal, the Commander of heavenly armies,
    sets our world on fire in His fury.
The rotten people become kindling for the fire,
    turning against one another until no one is spared.
20 They slice off what’s on the right and are still hungry;
    they eat what’s on the left and still aren’t satisfied.
And in their voracity, they consume their own.

Ravenous in their greed, no one is spared—not brothers or sisters, not allies or kin.

21 Manasseh and Ephraim devour each other
    and turn their covetous eye south, toward Judah.
Still, God’s anger smolders. His hand is raised; there’s more to come.

Manasseh and Ephraim are family; they have a common language and common culture, and they come from common stock. In every way that matters they are brothers, but they are at war with each other. And they don’t stop there. They turn against Judah, their southern relative. Amazingly, God has chosen them all to be His people, a nation of promise and destiny. How sad that it’s come to this! What is God to do with His children? God will not abandon them, yet neither will God put up with their destructive consumption, their greed and injustices. Indeed, their wrongdoing takes its own course of self-destruction, and God will not stop it. Sometimes God’s judgment consists of Him stepping back and leaving people to their devices—letting their will be done.

10 1-2 How awful it will be for those who mandate wickedness
    and legalize oppression, denying justice to the needy,
Taking away the rights of the poor among My people.
    Such leaders intend to make helpless widows and orphans their prey.
How will you opportunists handle the day of reckoning?
    What will you do when trouble comes from far away?
Will you run away from the disaster you caused?
    Who will help you? Where will you leave all your wealth?
You, too, must cower among the captives
    or fall among the dead.
Still, God’s anger smolders. His hand is raised; there’s more to come.