Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. — Isaiah 34:1-2
“Fire! Fire! Pop’s shed is on fire!” I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live, not only from the lesson learned, but also because of the judgment meted out by my dad. Earlier that hot August afternoon, as my younger sister and I had headed down to the shed, my dad had called out after us, “Don’t go setting any fires in the stove!” Now, you might think that an odd statement given the heat of the day, but my dad had good reason to give that warning. As a child, I had loved playing with fire. I remember being fascinated with watching the flames dance — the fact that those flames were on the basement floor of our house didn’t dawn on me! Having spent much time with my dad, he knew me and the potential temptation that existed in my grandpa’s shed.
While I watched from the front porch of the house, my dad and grandpa put out the fire in the shed. Afterward, as my dad walked up across the lawn, I knew I was in trouble. Despite my pleadings, and crying, “I’m sorry,” I received proper discipline and a just reward for my actions that day. I could have burned down the shed and caused the loss of all of my grandpa’s tools. Or worse, my sister and I could have been badly burned or killed. My dad was completely justified in administering discipline. I knew that my dad loved me, and looking back, I know he had no choice but to discipline me. I needed to understand that what I did was foolishly dangerous and that I should never do it again. That has been almost twenty-five years ago, but I’ve never again set a fire outside of prescribed burning areas.
Our loving heavenly Father, who is slow to anger and of great mercy, only administers just judgments. As this chapter demonstrates, He provides plenty of warning before pouring out His wrath. Through the prophet Isaiah, God provided notice about future judgment to come upon the earth. Like a father speaking to his children, God warned all the nations of the earth about the destruction to be visited upon the people who reject Him and turn from righteousness. Although the judgment Isaiah described was severe, the warning that God gave was more than adequate. Isaiah, and God Himself, wanted the people of his time to hear and hearken — to turn and change their ways.
God has given ample warnings to the people of our generation also. Rather than risk experiencing the hand of God in judgment, let us heed the admonition today and live within the clearly defined parameters of holy living. As we do, others can recognize the benefits of following God’s Word and hopefully desire to follow Him too.
Idumea (Edom) shared a common lineage with Israel, and was home to the Edomites. (These were the people who had refused passage to the Children of Israel during their wilderness wanderings.) Jacob was the patriarch of the Children of Israel, while the Edomites were descendants of Jacob’s twin brother, Esau. The descendents of Esau had always been bitter enemies of the Children of Israel.
Although the judgments noted in this chapter specifically target the nation of Edom, many Bible scholars feel that the judgments described here are of a much broader scope. Edom may be representative of the Gentile nations as a whole, and the cataclysmic events described may be the judgment of the Great Tribulation.
Chapters 34 and 35 provide contrasting views of the final destiny of the wicked and the righteous. They make up one prophecy of Isaiah; chapter 34 speaks of final judgment while chapter 35 speaks of final redemption.
The animals described in the second part of the chapter are all scavengers. Unicorns (verse 7) could be translated “wild oxen,” cormorants and bitterns (verse 11) are pelicans and heron, respectively. Dragons (verse 13) could be translated as jackals, and satyrs (verse 14) as “shaggy goats.” Isaiah was drawing a picture of a desolate land only inhabited by wild beasts.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and judging
F. Prophecies relating to world destruction and blessing
1. The destruction of world power (34:1-17)
a. The description of the destruction (34:1-7)
b. The devastation of the destruction (34:8-15)
c. The divine promise of Israel’s possession (34:16-17)
Many warnings concerning the coming judgment of God are contained in both the Old and New Testaments. Those who have knowledge of these warnings are “without excuse.” Let us be wise and heed God’s warnings.