O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs…
The Justice and Sovereignty of GOD
March 26, 2009Posted by on
Isaiah 24 (New American Standard Bible)
1Behold, the LORD lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants.
2And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor.
3The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the LORD has spoken this word.
4The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away.
5The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant.
6Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
7The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the merry-hearted sigh.
8The gaiety of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The gaiety of the harp ceases. 9They do not drink wine with song; Strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter.
11There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine; All joy turns to gloom. The gaiety of the earth is banished.
12Desolation is left in the city and the gate is battered to ruins.
13For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.
14They raise their voices, they shout for joy; They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the LORD.
15Therefore glorify the LORD in the east, The name of the LORD, the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea.
16From the ends of the earth we hear songs, “Glory to the Righteous One,”But I say, “Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously, and the treacherous deal very treacherously.”
17Terror and pit and snare Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth.
18Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake.
19The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently.
20The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again.
21So it will happen in that day, That the LORD will punish the host of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth.
22They will be gathered together like prisoners in the dungeon, and will be confined in prison; and after many days they will be punished.
23Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary
The desolation of the land
Verse 1-12 – All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God’s curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God’s judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.
A few shall be preserved
Verse 13-15 – There shall be a remnant preserved from the general ruin, and it shall be a devout and pious remnant. These few are dispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under the leaves. The Lord knows those that are his; the world does not. When the mirth of carnal worldlings ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively as ever, because the covenant of grace, the fountain of their comforts, and the foundation of their hopes, never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice in tribulation, and by faith may triumph when all about them are in tears. They encourage their fellow-sufferers to do likewise, even those who are in the furnace of affliction. Or, in the valleys, low, dark, miry places. In every fire, even the hottest, in every place, even the remotest, let us keep up our good thoughts of God. If none of these trials move us, then we glorify the Lord in the fires.
God’s kingdom advanced by his judgments
Verse 16-23 – Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer’s enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.