Read Isaiah 10:1-19
Remember our basic Inductive Bible Study methods or tools when trying to figure out what this collection of verses is saying. Let us ask questions like “What Biblical truth is being taught here? How is God being described? Who is involved in this passage? What came before the passage and what has come after the passage? What is the whole picture of what God is doing here? What characteristics of God are being explained or taught here?
When reading this piece of scripture there is an important verse in Romans that must be kept in mind:
“…and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:28-30
“God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose...” is the key line here. This is what God is doing in Isaiah 10 (except the people involved do not love God). God is using the Assyrians in their disobedient, violent ways to oppress and judge Judah.
--Judah is called by God into His family, Judah disobeys God’s covenant
--Ahaz (king of Judah) chooses to side with Assyria in disobedience
--God lets (and uses) Assyria to enact His judgement on His people
1. God’s Will (what God wants) we happen. God will do what God wants to do.
“Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation, I send it against a godless nation and commission it against the people of My fury.” Isaiah 10:5-6
God is lifting his hand of protection away from Judah (His people this means Israel too). God’s people no longer want God so God is lifting His protection from them: Why does God do this?
2. God is truly just. God is always making right what has been wronged—He does this to His children because He loves His children.
“So it will be that when the Lord has completed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, ‘I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the pomp of His haughtiness.’ For he has said, ‘By the power of my hand and by my wisdom I did this, for I have understanding, and I removed the boundaries of the people...” – Isaiah 10:12-13
Remember the original Hebrew word for Justice is Misphat meaning Judgement and it also means “making right what has been made wrong though a legal process”. God is continually making right what is wrong in this situation and His glory is shining through this dark period of Judah’s history.
Remember, Ahaz chose to run to the Assyrians instead of running to God (Isaiah 7)
3. God is working for the good of those who love Him. His grace and glory shines through dark places.
The Assyrians are enslaving and plundering God’s people. God is judging His people through this process. But now, Isaiah the prophet, has a word for the Assyrians too. Yes, God was using the Assyrians but they were still committing unlawful sin in this process—this demand’s God’s justice. Every nation is living in complete wickedness in this situation.
“Therefore, the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; and under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame. And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day…” Isaiah 10:16-18
Psalm 76:10 says “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You.” God can use the wickedness and carnality of man to further His will, without ever approving of the wickedness or carnality. In fact, God is totally justified in judging the very wickedness and carnality that He used.
This pattern is repeated over and over through the Scriptures. Joseph’s brothers sinned against Joseph, but God used it for His purpose, and disciplined Joseph’s brothers. Saul sinned against David, but God used it for His purpose, and judged Saul. Judas sinned against Jesus, but God used it for His purpose, and judged Judas. (Enduring Word Commentary)
Right after this in verse 20 we get to see how God’s grace continues to work in His people. Even here in verse 17 we get to witness God’s amazing grace. God will shine His glory like a kindled flame and it will burn the thorns and briar as a Holy flame. Fire is not only light (just as Christ is the light in a dark place) but the fire burns away what is not God, the fire judges, the fire empowers, and God’s glory is what remains in His people through this process.
God is doing His good in this dark situation. He is exposing sin, judging sin, burning away what must be burned away and He is leaving a remnant. Extending Himself to His people once again ultimately pointing towards the ultimate salvation found in Jesus Christ. Jesus will be that new light, that new fire, that new judge that will die in humanities’ place so that we may live forever with Him in heaven and have the hope of Christ living in us.
God is always working. God is working. For us today these truths about God still remain. We must turn to God, repent and He will give us forgiveness, He has already judged us through Christ, He bore the wrath meaning that we can go to Christ in our sin and be forgiven. We must not be afraid in times of oppression we must TRUST IN GOD—He’s there. He has us and His glory will shine through us.