Isaiah 10:20-34 (NKJV)
And it shall come to pass in that day That the remnant of Israel, And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, Will never again depend on him who defeated them, But will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, To the Mighty God.
For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, A remnant of them will return; The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
For the Lord God of hosts Will make a determined end In the midst of all the land.
Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: “O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt. For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction.” And the Lord of hosts will stir up a scourge for him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; as His rod was on the sea, so will He lift it up in the manner of Egypt.
It shall come to pass in that day That his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, And his yoke from your neck, And the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.
He has come to Aiath, He has passed Migron; At Michmash he has attended to his equipment.
They have gone along the ridge, They have taken up lodging at Geba. Ramah is afraid, Gibeah of Saul has fled.
Lift up your voice, O daughter of Gallim! Cause it to be heard as far as Laish— O poor Anathoth!
Madmenah has fled, The inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge.
As yet he will remain at Nob that day;
He will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, The hill of Jerusalem.
Behold, the Lord, The Lord of hosts, Will lop off the bough with terror; Those of high stature will be hewn down, And the haughty will be humbled.
He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, And Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.
Today we will talk about the returning remnant of Israel, a passage that gives hope in the midst of the declarations of destruction. After talking about how Assyria would ransack and destroy Israel, there is still hope for the nation. God promises that there will be a “remnant of Israel”, who will depend not on those who have used power to overcome them, but on the Lord. We see this when the people return from their exile after seven decades of captivity under myriad groups until they are passed over to the annexed rule of Cyrus. However, it's not all rosy. Isaiah contrasts the numbers of Israel as “sand of the sea” to the idea of a remnant. The word here for “remnant” (shear ראָשְׁ) means a residue of what was. It is no longer the whole of Israel that will be able to return to the lands. The destruction that the Lord promised as a form of righteousness would be delivered to the land. The assurance then from God is not to be afraid of the Assyrian (the Assyrian king), who would “strike you with a rod and lift his staff against you”. God tells them that the destruction and His anger at it would be withheld only for a moment in the grand scheme of things, and at the end there would be a scourge awaiting Assyria. Isaiah calls back to the battle against Midian in Numbers 31. It was a massacre that destroyed Midian and that was the promised degree of punishment for Assyria. Isaiah makes a nod to the Messianic prophecy, noting that the burden and the yoke of Assyria “would be destroyed because of the anointing oil”. God would once again choose His nation and anoint them; a reinstatement of the covenant that He had with them, despite all that had transpired. There is a list of many places that comes after, all of which are specific cities in Judah. Because the previous section are words of comfort, Judah might have thought that God would be lenient on them. But Isaiah reinforces the idea that the punishment and judgment would still come. There would be no withholding of that. Spare the rod after all, and spoil the child, as it is said. The list of the cities follows the path that the Assyrians took while moving to capture the capital, and likely would have been tallied with Assyrian military records of the time. Those who held themselves up would “be hewn down”; those who were haughty would “be humbled”. The cedars of Lebanon were known for their sturdiness, but God in His might would bring them down. Those who had confidence in their resilience and their high and mighty natures would be taken down by a power far greater than their own.
Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections. Daniel is in the Young Professionals ministry of the Central Christian Church.