Isaiah chapter 30

A faction in Judah foolishly tried to make an alliance with Egypt to defend them from the Assyrian threat. But Egypt did not have the strength to do that.

 


 

EGYPT CANNOT DEFEND THEM FROM ASSYRIA

 

VERSE 1. “Woe to the rebellious children”, says the LORD, “who take counsel, but not from me; and who make an alliance, but not with my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin,

NAB translation. Ah! Rebellious children, oracle of the LORD, Who carry out a plan that is not mine, who make an alliance I did not inspire, thus adding sin upon sin;

carry out a plan that is not mine. They are a self-willed people. They are all about themselves and their own plan, instead of being all about God and his plan for them.

Lots of us plan for the future. But we don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. We should say “God-willing” and speak tentatively of our future. Read  more »

 

VERSE 2. who set out to go down into Egypt, and have not asked my advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to take refuge in the shadow of Egypt!

have not asked my advice. They did not bother to seek the will of God. They were acting without authority from God.

 

VERSE 3. Therefore the strength of Pharaoh will be your shame, and the refuge in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.

 

VERSE 4. For their princes are at Zoan, and their ambassadors have come to Hanes.

 

VERSE 5. They shall all be ashamed because of a people that can’t profit them, that are not a help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.”

NLT translation. all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you.

all who trust in him. That is, those who trust in Pharaoh.

will be ashamed. It is a grave mistake to trust in Pharaoh. Often it is the megalomaniacs who claw their way to such lofty positions. People should not place their trust in a megalomaniac. If we trust a megalomaniac, we will one day be ashamed.

he will disgrace you. It is not that Pharaoh will simply let down those who trust in him. Rather, he will turn on them and disgrace them. The megalomaniacs of our day will inevitably turn on their closest supporters.

 

VERSE 6. The burden of the animals of the South. Through the land of trouble and anguish, of the lioness and the lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they carry their riches on the shoulders of young donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to an unprofitable people.

fiery flying serpent. Literally “flying saraph.” A saraph is a poisonous snake.

an unprofitable people. They were good for nothing.

 

VERSE 7. For Egypt helps in vain, and to no purpose; therefore I have called her Rahab who sits still.

NLT translation. Egypt’s promises are worthless! Therefore I call her Rahab–the Harmless Dragon.

Egypt’s promises are worthless! The promises of today’s megalomaniacs are also worthless. Consider all the broken promises of politicians on the campaign trail.

Jesus spoke of religious leaders in this way. He said they impose heavy burdens on their people and do not lift a finger to assist.

 

VERSE 8. Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.

write it before them on a tablet. Jewish & Christian spirituality is based on the notion of Revealed Truth. The Revealed Truth is written down and available.

For us, it is important to write things down carefully, and to make them available for everybody. In our day, we can take advantage of the technology that is available to us. That sentiment is part of the inspiration for this very website. The world cannot contain the amount of material that needs to be written and shared!

Isaiah 30:8. Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.

John 21:25. There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn’t have room for the books that would be written.

Revelation 1:11. saying, “What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

 

VERSE 9. For it is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the LORD’s law;

 

VERSE 10. who tell the seers, “Don’t see!” and the prophets, “Don’t prophesy to us right things. Tell us pleasant things. Prophesy deceits.

NAB translation. They say to the seers, “Have no visions;” to the prophets, “Do not decry for us what is right;” speak flatteries to us, conjure up illusions!”

They say to the seers. Some people want to be in charge of the prophet, the teacher, the preacher. We see that reflected in the way they hire a new pastor. A self-selected board interviews the candidates. Then they hire the one they feel will preach exactly what they want to hear.

St. Paul decried such groups, as well as the preachers they hire. Paul called them “ear ticklers.”

Preachers who want to attract a big crowd and become famous need to do exactly what Paul condemns. They need to tell people what they want to hear.

Isaiah 30:10. They say to the seers, “Have no visions;” to the prophets, “Do not decry for us what is right;” speak flatteries to us, conjure up illusions!” (NAB translation)

Jeremiah 5:31. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority; and my people love to have it so. What will you do in the end of it?

Jeremiah 6:13. Everyone, from the least important to the greatest, is greedy for money. Even the prophets and priests all tell lies. (NCV translation)

2 Timothy 4:3. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (NIV translation)

 

VERSE 11. Get out of the way. Turn away from the path. Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”

 

VERSE 12. Therefore the Holy One of Israel says, “Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and rely on it,

you despise this word. In our day, many professing Christians avoid the Bible. They do not read it, meditate on it, memorize it.

trust in oppression and perverseness. In our day, many professing Christians only trust their church leaders. But some church leaders are megalomaniacs who should not be trusted.

 

VERSE 13. therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly in an instant.

 

VERSE 14. He will break it as a potter’s vessel is broken, breaking it in pieces without sparing, so that there won’t be found among the broken pieces a piece good enough to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.”

 

VERSE 15. For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “You will be saved in returning and rest. Your strength will be in quietness and in confidence.” You refused,

NAB translation. For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust shall be your strength. But this you did not will.

thus said the Lord GOD. This is especially important.

By waiting and by calm. Our greatest strength is quiet, trusting faith. Our faith is in God and in his great promises. When we get all worked up and stressed out, that’s when we falter.

in quiet and in trust. In Contemplative Prayer, we calmly wait. We sit in quiet. We stay in trusting faith.

 

VERSE 16. but you said, “No, for we will flee on horses;” therefore you will flee; and, “We will ride on the swift;” therefore those who pursue you will be swift.

 

VERSE 17. One thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill.

At the threat of five, you will flee. Five of them will make all of you flee. God’s people will be subsumed by their fears. If only they would seek strength from God.

 

THE LORD’S GRACIOUSNESS TO HIS PEOPLE

 

VERSE 18. Therefore the LORD will wait, that he may be gracious to you; and therefore he will be exalted, that he may have mercy on you, for the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him.

NAB translation. Truly, the LORD is waiting to be gracious to you, truly, he shall rise to show you mercy; For the LORD is a God of justice: happy are all who wait for him!

the LORD is waiting. That’s sort of the story of God’s interaction with us humans. He waits for us to come to our senses and return to him.

to be gracious to you. God is virtually standing in line, waiting for a chance to show you his favor. Why not let him do it? Why not expect him to do as he says.

 

VERSE 19. For the people will dwell in Zion at Jerusalem. You will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the voice of your cry. When he hears you, he will answer you.

You will weep no more. Their time of suffering will come to a close. Their tears will end.

 

VERSE 20. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers won’t be hidden any more, but your eyes will see your teachers;

your teachers won’t be hidden any more. Previously, they had put God off to the side, like some annoying thing that needed to be ignored. By putting him off to the side, it was easier for them to ignore him.

your eyes will see your teachers. In the days to come, they will stop putting God off to the side. In that day, the presence of God will finally be back in their field of vision. They will see his activity in their lives once again.

 

VERSE 21. and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.”

NIV 1984 translation. Whether you turn your ears to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Book of Isaiah and from the entire Bible.

your ears will hear a voice. The Holy Spirit is always with us, ready to guide us.

Isaiah 35:5. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

 

VERSE 22. You shall defile the overlaying of your engraved images of silver, and the plating of your molten images of gold. You shall cast them away as an unclean thing. You shall tell it, “Go away!”

 

VERSE 23. He will give the rain for your seed, with which you will sow the ground; and bread of the increase of the ground will be rich and plentiful. In that day, your livestock will feed in large pastures.

 

VERSE 24. The oxen likewise and the young donkeys that till the ground will eat savory feed, which has been winnowed with the shovel and with the fork.

 

VERSE 25. There will be brooks and streams of water on every lofty mountain and on every high hill in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

 

VERSE 26. Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD binds up the fracture of his people, and heals the wound they were struck with.

heals the wound they were struck with. One day, God will heal us all.

 

VERSE 27. Behold, the LORD’s name comes from far away, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke. His lips are full of indignation. His tongue is as a devouring fire.

 

VERSE 28. His breath is as an overflowing stream that reaches even to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction. A bridle that leads to ruin will be in the jaws of the peoples.

 

VERSE 29. You will have a song, as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one goes with a flute to come to the LORD’s mountain, to Israel’s Rock.

gladness of heart. This will be a time of great merrymaking!

 

VERSE 30. The LORD will cause his glorious voice to be heard, and will show the descent of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and the flame of a devouring fire, with a blast, storm, and hailstones.

 

VERSE 31. For through the LORD’s voice the Assyrian will be dismayed. He will strike him with his rod.

 

VERSE 32. Every stroke of the rod of punishment, which the LORD will lay on him, will be with the sound of tambourines and harps. He will fight with them in battles, brandishing weapons.

 

VERSE 33. For his burning place has long been ready. Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made its pyre deep and large with fire and much wood. The LORD’s breath, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

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