6For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. 7 Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. 9 So man is humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them! 10 Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty. 11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:6-11)
Isaiah 2:6-22 concerns the subject known as the Day of the LORD. Often, prophecy of a near-future event and an end-time prophecy are merged—the immediate judgment being a preview of the final Day of the Lord. The prophecy of Isaiah against Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:6-22) and Babylon is an example (Isaiah 13:5–10).
Why did the LORD determine to judge the Nation of Judah and when did this historically occur? The reasons for the judgement are set forth in today’s text.
To begin with, God rejected His people because they chose to ignore and reject His revelation and opted to consult fortune tellers. The Hebrew word for fortune-tellers refers to those who practice sorcery, magic or conjuring the spirits of the dead to appear before the living. These behaviors were clearly prohibited in Scripture ((Levicitus19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10, 14; Judges 9:37; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Isaiah 57:3; Jeremiah 27:9; Micah 5:11).
Secondly, they were consumed with material wealth. This led them into business dealings with non-Jews. This was not done for the sake of fidelity but rather to amass great amounts of gold, silver, treasures and horses. They became obsessed with the trappings of wealth.
Thirdly, they were idolatrous. Instead of worshipping Yahweh alone, they chose to worship false gods. They perhaps concluded that these worthless and false deities were the source of their wealth. Idols were crafted images which were artifacts of worship (Leviticus 19:4; 26:1; 1 Chronicles 16:26; Psalm 96:5; 97:7).
Therefore, because of their self-exaltation God will humble His people by bringing humiliating judgement. God alone is to be exalted among the people.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “God had abandoned His people (on the house of Jacob see comments on v. 5) not because He no longer loved them but because they had become like the pagans around them. The people of Judah were as superstitious as the people in the East, that is, they were following the practices of the Assyrian Empire, which at that time was encroaching on the entire Syro-Palestinian area.”
Additionally, Dr. Walvoord comments that “At the same time Judahites were engaging in divination like the Philistines. The Philistines occupied the southwestern part of Canaan and had sought to control Israel. So Israel was influenced by pagan practices from several sources. That Philistines were involved in divination is evident from 1 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 1:2. Divination (from ‘ānan, “to practice sorcery”; cf. Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10, 14; 2 Kings 21:6; Micah 5:12, “cast spells”) was the attempt to control people or circumstances or to seek to know the future through power given by evil spirits (demons).”
Finally, Dr. Walvvord concludes that, “Isaiah’s irony here is strong, for Judah should have known what her future would be because of the Word of God; yet she was trying to discern the future by pagan means. No wonder Isaiah asked God not to forgive her (Isa. 2:9). Judah had great material wealth (silver and gold) and military strength (horses and chariots, v. 7) which they no doubt mistakenly thought came to them because of their worshiping idols. This probably led to pride and self-confidence because God said they would be brought low and humbled (v. 9; cf. vv. 11–12, 17). Their sinful condition made judgment a necessity.”
It is because of these sinful behaviors, that God would finally bring judgment upon Judah by the Nation of Babylon in 605 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36:1-21; Daniel 1:1-2). This captivity would extend for 70 tears (Daniel 9:1-2; Jeremiah 25:1-14).
We must be careful that we do not practice the same sinful behavior as the Nation of Judah in the 8th century B.C. To do so presumes upon the grace of the LORD and fosters the probability that God will judge our nation in much the same way. Let us resolve to be salt and light in a rotting and darkened culture (Matthew 5:13-16).
Soli deo Gloria!
Soli deo Gloria!