18” In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is at the end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.
20 In that day the Lord will shave with a razor that is hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will sweep away the beard also.
21 In that day a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22 and because of the abundance of milk that they give, he will eat curds, for everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey.
23 In that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24 With bow and arrows a man will come there, for all the land will be briers and thorns. 25 And as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not come there for fear of briers and thorns, but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.” (Isaiah 7:18-25)
One of the things to observe when studying Scripture is its use of repetition. When the student observes the same word, or words, repeated they are there for emphasis. In today’s text, we see the phrase “in that day” repeated four times. The phrase addresses the destruction of Syria and the Nation of Judah beginning in in 605 B.C. It foreshadows the events of the last judgment by God upon the fallen and sinful world (Revelation 6-19).
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “The desolation prophesied in this section began in the days of Ahaz and reached its climax when the Babylonians conquered Judah. Its results continue to the time when the Messiah will return to deliver Israel and establish his kingdom on earth.”
In the first section (vs. 18-19), the judgment from the LORD will feature a great number of invaders, like a horde of insects. Even traditional places of protection and hiding, such as ravines and clefts of the rocks, will be of no avail.
In the second section (vs. 20), God’s judgment will feature a time of great mourning. This is symbolized by the shaving of the head. In the ancient world, this was a sign of humiliation conquered enemies. Judah in the 8th century, and the fallen world of the future, will be humiliated by the judgment of God.
In the third section (vs. 21-22), the land will be devastated by war. The only food will be scarce, such as curds and honey (See 7:15).
In the final section (vs. 23-25), the rich, cultivated land of Israel will filled with weeds. It will be fairly fit for grazing. It will be a time of great poverty. This will be God’s covenant curse on the land. The final judgment will impact the entire world.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Though temporary deliverance (Isaiah 7:16; 8:4) was to be given then, and final deliverance through Messiah, sore punishment shall follow the former. After subduing Syria and Israel, the Assyrians shall encounter Egypt (2 Ki 23:29), and Judah shall be the battlefield of both (Isaiah 7:18), and be made tributary to that very Assyria (2 Chronicles 28:20; 2 Kings 16:7, 8) now about to be called in as an ally (Isaiah 39:1–6). Egypt, too, should prove a fatal ally (Isaiah 36:6; 31:1, &c.).”
The only hope for Judah in the 8th century B.C., and the only hope for the world today, is to trust in the LORD and receive His deliverance through Jesus Christ. For those who do not, there awaits certain judgment.
Soli deo Gloria!