July 9, Isaiah 5-8

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I will sing about the one I love,
a song about my loved one’s vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones,
and planted it with the finest vines.
He built a tower in the middle of it
and even dug out a winepress there.
He expected it to yield good grapes,
but it yielded worthless grapes.

So now, residents of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
please judge between me
and my vineyard.
What more could I have done for my vineyard
than I did?
Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes,
did it yield worthless grapes?
Now I will tell you
what I am about to do to my vineyard:
I will remove its hedge,
and it will be consumed;
I will tear down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland.
It will not be pruned or weeded;
thorns and briers will grow up.
I will also give orders to the clouds
that rain should not fall on it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of Armies
is the house of Israel,
and the men[a] of Judah,
the plant he delighted in.
He expected justice
but saw injustice;
he expected righteousness
but heard cries of despair.

Judah’s Sins Denounced

Woe to those who add house to house
and join field to field
until there is no more room
and you alone are left in the land.

I heard the Lord of Armies say:

Indeed, many houses will become desolate,
grand and lovely ones without inhabitants.
10 For a ten-acre[b] vineyard will yield
only six gallons of wine,[c]
and ten bushels[d] of seed will yield
only one bushel of grain.[e]

11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning
in pursuit of beer,
who linger into the evening,
inflamed by wine.
12 At their feasts they have lyre, harp,
tambourine, flute, and wine.
They do not perceive the Lord’s actions,
and they do not see the work of his hands.

13 Therefore my people will go into exile
because they lack knowledge;
her[f] dignitaries are starving,
and her masses are parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol enlarges its throat
and opens wide its enormous jaws,
and down go Zion’s dignitaries, her masses,
her crowds, and those who celebrate in her!
15 Humanity is brought low, each person is humbled,
and haughty eyes are humbled.
16 But the Lord of Armies is exalted by his justice,
and the holy God demonstrates his holiness through his righteousness.
17 Lambs will graze
as if in[g] their own pastures,
and resident aliens[h] will eat
among the ruins of the rich.

18 Woe to those who drag iniquity
with cords of deceit
and pull sin along with cart ropes,
19 to those who say,
“Let him hurry up and do his work quickly
so that we can see it!
Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take place
so that we can know it!”
20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who substitute darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who consider themselves wise
and judge themselves clever.[i]
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
who are champions at pouring beer,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe
and deprive the innocent of justice.

24 Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw
and as dry grass shrivels in the flame,
so their roots will become like something rotten
and their blossoms will blow away like dust,
for they have rejected
the instruction of the Lord of Armies,
and they have despised
the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against his people.
He raised his hand against them and struck them;
the mountains quaked,
and their corpses were like garbage in the streets.
In all this, his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is still raised to strike.

26 He raises a signal flag for the distant nations
and whistles for them from the ends of the earth.
Look—how quickly and swiftly they come!
27 None of them grows weary or stumbles;
no one slumbers or sleeps.
No belt is loose
and no sandal strap broken.
28 Their arrows are sharpened,
and all their bows strung.
Their horses’ hooves are like flint;
their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind.
29 Their roaring is like a lion’s;
they roar like young lions;
they growl and seize their prey
and carry it off,
and no one can rescue it.
30 On that day they will roar over it,
like the roaring of the sea.
When one looks at the land,
there will be darkness and distress;
light will be obscured by clouds.[j]

Isaiah’s Call and Mission

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim[k] were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.

The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

Then I said:

Woe is me for I am ruined[l]
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the Lord of Armies.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said:

Now that this has touched your lips,
your iniquity is removed
and your sin is atoned for.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:

Who will I send?
Who will go for us?

I said:

Here I am. Send me.

And he replied:

Go! Say to these people:
Keep listening, but do not understand;
keep looking, but do not perceive.
10 Make the minds[m] of these people dull;
deafen their ears and blind their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their minds,
turn back, and be healed.

11 Then I said, “Until when, Lord?” And he replied:

Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants,
houses are without people,
the land is ruined and desolate,
12 and the Lord drives the people far away,
leaving great emptiness in the land.
13 Though a tenth will remain in the land,
it will be burned again.
Like the terebinth or the oak
that leaves a stump when felled,
the holy seed is the stump.

The Message to Ahaz

This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Aram’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah went to fight against Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it.

When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz[n] and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind.

The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub[o] to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering sticks, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah. For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say, ‘Let’s go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’”

This is what the Lord God says:

It will not happen; it will not occur.
The chief city of Aram is Damascus,
the chief of Damascus is Rezin
(within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people),
the chief city of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the chief of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
then you will not stand at all.

The Immanuel Prophecy

10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.”

12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”

13 Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? 14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you[p] a sign: See, the virgin will conceive,[q] have a son, and name him Immanuel.[r] 15 By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating curds[s] and honey. 16 For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. 17 The Lord will bring on you, your people, and your father’s house such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah: He will bring the king of Assyria.”

18 On that day
the Lord will whistle to flies
at the farthest streams of the Nile
and to bees in the land of Assyria.
19 All of them will come and settle
in the steep ravines, in the clefts of the rocks,
in all the thornbushes, and in all the water holes.

20 On that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave the hair on your heads, the hair on your legs, and even your beards.

21 On that day
a man will raise a young cow and two sheep,
22 and from the abundant milk they give
he will eat curds,
for every survivor in the land will eat curds and honey.

23 And on that day
every place where there were a thousand vines,
worth a thousand pieces of silver,
will become thorns and briers.
24 A man will go there with bow and arrows
because the whole land will be thorns and briers.
25 You will not go to all the hills
that were once tilled with a hoe,
for fear of the thorns and briers.
Those hills will be places for oxen to graze
and for sheep to trample.

The Coming Assyrian Invasion

Then the Lord said to me, “Take a large piece of parchment[t] and write on it with an ordinary pen:[u] Maher-shalal-hash-baz.[v] I have appointed[w] trustworthy witnesses—the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah.”

I was then intimate with the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, for before the boy knows how to call ‘Father,’ or ‘Mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried off to the king of Assyria.”

The Lord spoke to me again:

Because these people rejected
the slowly flowing water of Shiloah
and rejoiced with[x] Rezin
and the son of Remaliah,
the Lord will certainly bring against them
the mighty rushing water of the Euphrates River—
the king of Assyria and all his glory.
It will overflow its channels
and spill over all its banks.
It will pour into Judah,
flood over it, and sweep through,
reaching up to the neck;
and its flooded banks[y]
will fill your entire land, Immanuel!

Band together,[z] peoples, and be broken;
pay attention, all you distant lands;
prepare for war, and be broken;
prepare for war, and be broken.
10 Devise a plan; it will fail.
Make a prediction; it will not happen.
For God is with us.[aa]

The Lord of Armies, the Only Refuge

11 For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep[ab] me from going the way of this people:

12 Do not call everything a conspiracy
that these people say is a conspiracy.
Do not fear what they fear;
do not be terrified.
13 You are to regard only the Lord of Armies as holy.
Only he should be feared;
only he should be held in awe.
14 He will be a sanctuary;
but for the two houses of Israel,
he will be a stone to stumble over
and a rock to trip over,
and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 Many will stumble over these;
they will fall and be broken;
they will be snared and captured.

16 Bind up the testimony.
Seal up the instruction among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.
I will wait for him.

18 Here I am with the children the Lord has given me to be signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of Armies who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 When they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people inquire of their God?[ac] Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Go to God’s instruction and testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them.

21 They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness.

Isaiah catches a vision of God in chapter 6. It is his call to ministry. God asks, “who will I send? and who will go for us? Isaiah responded, “Here I am. Send me.” This is the attitude of every person who encounters the God of the universe. They get a glimpse of the greatness of God and it compels them to write a blank check with their lives for God to use them however He wants. Will you do that today? Will you surrender to be used by God for His purposes?

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