Retribution and Restoration.
“But in that day, the branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of all who survive in Israel. All who remain in Zion will be a holy people …” – Isaiah 4:2-3 NLT
Isaiah is all about the coming judgment of God upon the people of God for their sins against Him. They have refused to obey Him. They have given their affections and worship to other gods. They have become arrogant and prideful, placing their faith, hope and trust in themselves and other nations. In the final verse of chapter 2, Isaiah warns, “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” (Isaiah 2:22 NLT). In chapter three Isaiah tells the people that God is going to take away from them everything they depend on. Every bit of bread, every drop of water, all their heroes, soldiers, judges, prophets, fortune-tellers, elders, army officers, high officials, advisers, skilled craftsmen, and astrologers. In other words, they are going to learn the hard way just how much they really need God. All the things they have learned to lean on and prop them up will be removed. It will be a devastating time with no leaders, little provision, and no hope. But Isaiah is to “tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned” (Isaiah 3:10 NLT).
This is a prediction having to do with future events. Some of these will be fulfilled with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. But most of it will come about during the Tribulation, that seven year period of time after the rapture of the church and the removal of all believers from the earth. During that time, Israel will become the target of the Antichrist, who will persecute the people of Israel like never before. The last three years of the Tribulation will be extremely difficult for those who are Jews. But God will raise up a relatively small group of Jews who will come to faith in Christ and become His witnesses during this dark period of time. There will be those who survive the Tribulation and remain faithful to God. God will punish Israel for its sins, but He will also restore Israel and preserve the nation from annihilation. God will remain faithful. So while the book of Isaiah is full of warnings and predictions of doom and devastation, it is also full of promises of restoration and reminders of God’s faithfulness. “The Lord will wash the filth from beautiful Zion and cleanse Jerusalem of its bloodstains with the hot breath of fiery judgment” (Isaiah 4:4 NLT). God is good. He is faithful. He has a plan for preserving His people and protecting His name. He will restore. He will redeem.
Father, never let us lose hope. In the midst of all the difficulties of life, never let us lose sight of the fact that You have a plan that You are working and it is perfect. While we may abandon You, You never abandon us. You have not forgotten the people of Israel or their land. You will someday send Your Son to bring order and righteousness back to the earth. You will restore this world to the way You had intended it when You created it. You are far from done yet. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men