Journey Through The Scriptures

Isaiah II

Lesson 2: Woes and Blessings

(Scripture to Read: Isaiah 28:1–30:33)

Isaiah’s pattern of delivering his message is seen again in these chapters, with God’s pronouncement of woes, or judgment, tempered by visions of future blessing. The condition of both the northern and southern kingdoms was not pleasing to God. Israel and its capital, Samaria, were the focus of God’s displeasure in chapter 28. This kingdom was afflicted with drunkenness, even to the extent that the priests and prophets were unable to perform their ministries properly. The “cure” for Israel’s sin would be conquest by Assyria—although Isaiah reminded the people again that the future will be glorious when Messiah comes to rule (28:16–17).

Judah fared no better than her northern relatives when it came to the nation’s sin and God’s severe judgment. The people were faulted for the empty worship they offered the Lord in “Ariel,” a name for Jerusalem. The city would be besieged by King Sennacherib of Assyria after he had conquered the northern kingdom, and the people of Judah would be terrified of the king’s great army. But Isaiah prophesied that Jerusalem would be delivered from Assyria if King Hezekiah and the people heeded his message and did not turn to Egypt for help. Hezekiah was under strong pressure to do so from the “pro-Egyptian” party in his government.

Study Questions

  1. What did the leaders of Judah mean by their taunt to Isaiah (28:9–10)?
  2. What will be the outstanding features of Messiah’s rule (28:17)?
  3. Why does Isaiah 28:21 refer to God’s judgment as His “strange work” and “alien task”?
  4. What promise does God make to Judah in the midst of announcing His coming judgment and the nation’s exile to Babylon (29:5–8)?

Something to Think About

We would do well to take to heart God’s statement about the futility of worship (29:13) in which the reality of the worshipers’ lives does not match the words that come from their lips. God seeks those who will worship and honor Him both from their hearts and with their hands.