Judgment on the Nations
Chapter 34 presents a comprehensive view of God’s judgments on guilty nations; Chapter 35, tomorrow, is a view of God’s blessing upon his people. Notice the contrasts!
Draw near, O nations, to hear,
and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.
This message from God is so important that Isaiah summons the whole earth to hear it, for the judgment that is coming will be severe.
2 For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their host;
he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
3 Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
4 All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall,
as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree.
5 For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
upon the people I have devoted to destruction.
Psalm 137:7 (NIV)
Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
Edom is representative of the nations which are enemies of God and his people. Edom was a sister nation to Israel, but had a violent hatred for Israel, more so than any other nation. The hatred dates back in history to Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac. Esau sold his birthright for a morsel of food to assuage his temporal hunger. It was for this reason that the birthright and blessings were given to Jacob, who later became Israel. The Scripture tells us the Esau hated his brother Jacob and they went separate ways. There was never a true reconciliation, and as nations developed from these two people, they remained hostile.
–N. E. Constance
6 The Lord has a sword; it is sated with blood;
it is gorged with fat,
with the blood of lambs and goats,
with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 Wild oxen shall fall with them,
and young steers with the mighty bulls.
Their land shall drink its fill of blood,
and their soil shall be gorged with fat.
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
9 And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11 But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
God has a time, the prophet says, when he will carry out his purposes of vengeance, which “refers to God’s action in carrying out the sentence which He as Judge has justly imposed” (William MacDonald). Burning pitch brings to mind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. No people will live there after such devastation — only birds and wild beasts will find their place there among the thorns and thistles.
He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
and the plumb line of emptiness.
12 Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
and all its princes shall be nothing.
13 Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
It shall be the haunt of jackals,
an abode for ostriches.
14 And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
indeed, there the night bird settles
and finds for herself a resting place.
15 There the owl nests and lays
and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow;
indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
each one with her mate.
16 Seek and read from the book of the Lord:
“The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”― Augustine of Hippo
“Out of 100 men, one will read the Bible, the other 99 will read the Christian.”― Dwight Lyman Moody
“A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this–not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of the Holy Spirit.”― Alistair Begg
“The reason you don’t like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.”― Billy Sunday
“The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.”― James Merritt
Not one of these shall be missing;
none shall be without her mate.
For the mouth of the Lord has commanded,
and his Spirit has gathered them.
17 He has cast the lot for them;
his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
they shall possess it forever;
from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.
We do not know what distress may come to us in our lives (I hope not anything quite like what has been described in this chapter!) — but as Twila Paris reminds us HERE — “God Is In Control.” So you can shake out the tension in your shoulders now and look up to heaven and say, “Thank you, Lord!”