Isaiah 29

Judgment and Hope for Jerusalem

What word of judgment and hope did Isaiah prophecy concerning Jerusalem?
Isaiah warned “Ariel” (Jerusalem) of God’s coming judgment. God’s judgment would come in spite of the people’s religious activity (29:1) and would visit the city in the form of a siege (29:3) that would bring the city low (29:4). The city of Jerusalem, however, would not be destroyed. Isaiah prophesied that Jerusalem’s enemies would become as dust and chaff before the wind (29:5) and leave with their dreams of conquest and victory unfulfilled (29:6-8).

How did Isaiah describe the condition of the people of Jerusalem?
Isaiah described the spiritual condition of the people of Jerusalem in the years prior to 701 B.C. (29:9-14). The people were blind and drunk (29:9-10). The eyes of the people, the prophets, had been shut so that they were without a word from God (29:11-12). See Amos 8:11-12 regarding Amos’ prophecy concerning a famine of the word of God. The religion and worship of the people had become empty and meaningless (29:13). The people paid lip service to God. They merely went through the motions of religious activity. Their religion had no impact on their lives.

Practical Consideration: Mechanical religion is no substitute for a meaningful relationship.
The people of Judah were outwardly religious. They were always present at church. They knew how to act, how to talk, and when to say “Amen” in their services of worship. Their sin was not the abandonment of worship, it was the absence of the heart in worship. Their worship of God was not hallowed, it was hollowed.

God was not interested in seeing them go through the motions of worship, He was interested in their motives in worship. Mechanical religion does not change lives. It is unsuccessful. Mechanical religion is unacceptable to God. The worshiper must have a meaningful relationship with God. Vance Havner, a great evangelist, said, “We are challenged these days, but not changed; convicted, but not converted. We hear, but do not; and thereby we deceive ourselves.”

What word did Isaiah have for those who were forming an alliance with Egypt?
The brief oracle contained in verses 15-16 was addressed to those who were negotiating a secret alliance with Egypt. They executed their plans so secretly that they were sure no one would know about them, not even God (29:15)! Isaiah spoke against the prideful attitude of these leaders who thought they were smarter than God (29:16).

What did Isaiah envision would happen in a future day?
Verses 17-24 look to a future day when things will be different: the land will flourish once again (29:17), the blind shall see (29:18), the poor and needy will be exalted (29:19-21), Jacob’s shame will come to an end (29:22), and people will stand in awe of God (29:23) and accept instruction (29:24).

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