KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16)
Isaiah was a master of words, and a prophet who was used by God to reveal many of the mysteries of God’s plan, as well to warn of the judgments to come. Chapters 28 through 35 contain prophecies of woe, intermixed with prophecies of hope and salvation.
Of the eight chapters covered in this lesson, five of them begin with the words: “Woe to. . .” Chapter 28 says, “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim. . .” Ephraim refers to the country of Israel. This was a warning to Judah and Israel that God was disgusted with their sin, and He likened them to drunken men, stumbling about in the midst of their uncleanness and vomit. He declared that their pride and beauty would be beaten down, and would be as a fading flower.
Chapter 29 begins with, “Woe to Ariel. . .” Ariel means “lion of God,” and was referring to Jerusalem. Although the people had a form of godliness and were observing religious festivals and talking about the Lord, they continued in their sin. God promised judgment upon them.
“Woe to the rebellious children. . .” begins the 30th chapter. Judah had rejected God’s counsel and His promise to protect them, seeking an alliance with Egypt to protect them from the Assyrians. In doing this, Judah was refusing to trust in the Lord and to obey Him. Chapter 31 continues with the same theme, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help. . .” God wants His people to put their trust in Him, and to allow Him to fight their battles. It is only through Him that victory can be obtained.
Chapter 33 begins, “Woe to thee that spoilest. . .” This was directed to the Assyrians who were a distress to Judah at the time. God promises judgment to those who oppose His chosen people. This includes those that are His, whether they are Jew or Gentile. The righteous will go through a refiner’s fire, but a remnant shall be saved.
In contrast to those that open with “Woe. . .” Chapter 32 begins, “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness. . .” speaking of Jesus who will set up His worldwide reign. Chapter 34 starts, “Come near, ye nations, to hear. . .” and goes on to tell the people of judgment to come. Chapter 35 begins, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad. . .” and describes the redemption and beauty and glory that will come to God’s people.
God is just. His judgment is tempered by His mercy. That is the message Isaiah was bringing to the people.
God promised judgment to those who rejected Him. Yet, in mercy He reached out with the promise of salvation for those who would take it. There are two clear choices: judgment or mercy. Let us choose mercy and we shall rejoice in the glories that await us!