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Isaiah 10:5-19

Daniel Tan

Isaiah 10:5-19 (NKJV)

“Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation.

I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations.

For he says, Are not my princes altogether kings?

Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus?

As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria,

As I have done to Samaria and her idols, Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?’ ”

Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”

For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.

My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, And as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; And there was no one who moved his wing, Nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”

Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!

Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts, Will send leanness among his fat ones; And under his glory He will kindle a burning Like the burning of a fire.

So the Light of Israel will be for a fire, And his Holy One for a flame; It will burn and devour His thorns and his briers in one day.

And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field, Both soul and body; And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.

Then the rest of the trees of his forest Will be so few in number That a child may write them.

Today we look at how God judges Assyria, who He uses as a tool to punish the Israelites. God doesn’t let Assyria off the hook despite it being used as the rod of His anger. It seems hypocritical to us that God would first use Assyria and then punish them for the purpose they were used for. It would be like trying to blame a window for opening. However, two things need to be noted: Assyria had already been planning to invade Israel. God simply needed to latch on or seed that notion. Secondly, Assyria took over countries in an entirely inhumane way. They were known for being cruel and ruthless; they went overboard and God addresses this. God sent them against the godless nation of Israel to seize loot and snatch plunder and to trample them down, but not to destroy them. Simply to punish them enough to get them to repent. But Assyria instead sought to destroy and put an end to many nations with a pride that boasted of kings as commanders. It looked down upon the nations it had destroyed and placed Jerusalem and Samaria even lower than other countries that it had conquered. It saw Israel as merely another stone in the mix and one that was weaker than the ones it had taken over. That haughty cruelty would be what God would punish. When the Lord was done with punishing Israel, He would come back to punish Assyria. That pride was unbecoming because those works were wrought by God. But the king of Assyria had attributed all of those to his own understanding and his abilities were so great that the nations conquered were like bird's nests in comparison to his power. The Lord speaks back against this: the king of Assyria was acting like an ax that raised itself above the person who swung it. A tool trying to boast about how good it was despite the effort being that of the user. It was a hilarious and frankly annoying display of arrogance. In return, God would send a disease amongst his warriors so that Assyria would burn. God would become a flame that would burn and consume the briars and thorns of Assyria to such an extent that there would be scarcely anything left. True enough, Assyria was destroyed by the Babylonian and Medes empires, that basically toppled it. This is known as the Battle of Nineveh (612 BC). However, this didn't really mean much since the ownership of the Israelite exiles were simply handed over to the new rulers. Still, the Assyrians had been done in, in the same way that God had mentioned.

Daniel Tan

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.

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