Have you experienced putting something of importance and meaningful significance away in a “special place” so it was protected and saved from harm, only to forget where that special place was when you needed it—And you never saw it again?
We become so foolish to think we have it all together, don’t we? As soon as we think everything is in order, everything is in place, we forget where I put it. Or we think “nailed it” when we think we have nailed down all that gets in our way—until it does and our lives suddenly fall apart. The excuses are, “well, if I haven’t used it or needed it in the past, I don’t need it now” or “I will find another way to get around this”. These excuses do not work in our spiritual walk with God. God proved our daily need for Him over and over again throughout the history of His creation. (See the story of His daily provision of manna in the desert in Exodus 16!) When we think we can do life without him, and we try, we need to think again. Our efforts to do life on our own are in vain, lead to nothing in the end with only a few dying, cut flowers heaped on a grave.
When God steps in with words of warning about where we are headed, we ignore, run from Him or we party. Satisfying our desires for a good time, without concern for others, seems to be our only earthly goal. Granted, we have thoughts of religion but we have put it in a special place for later. Most of the world has forgotten where that special place is. Many have forgotten God, along with forgetting His love, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and grace. We have forgotten that He longs for a relationship with us. However, when we do remember, great is His faithfulness to us! When we repent of going our own way with a humbled desire to honor Him with wanting His best way for us, life is altered, changed, transformed forever.
God’s enemy, working through gullible, selfish, proud people nailed Jesus, God Son, to a cross of shame, humility, and excoriating pain—for us. The legalistic religioius thought they had finally defeated the One and Only who would change their world. They really thought they had “nailed it,” putting things back in order, having it their way, without distraction from One who told them of their lack of relationship with God. But in three days, only the nail pierced scars remained and life forever began—for all who would believe. We must remember that it wasn’t the nails that held Jesus there, it was His love for us. “Forgive them for they know not what they do” were His exact words. Forgiveness of sin made complete—once and for all. God has and always will have the final say. God nails it every time. God knows us and provided a Way to Truth that leads to eternal Life by believing His Son sent to save us.
Isaiah 22, The Message
A Country of Cowards
22 1-3 A Message concerning the Valley of Vision:
What’s going on here anyway?
All this partying and noisemaking,
Shouting and cheering in the streets,
the city noisy with celebrations!
You have no brave soldiers to honor,
no combat heroes to be proud of.
Your leaders were all cowards,
captured without even lifting a sword,
A country of cowards
captured escaping the battle.
You Looked, but You Never Looked to Him
4-8 In the midst of the shouting, I said, “Let me alone.
Let me grieve by myself.
Don’t tell me it’s going to be all right.
These people are doomed. It’s not all right.”
For the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
is bringing a day noisy with mobs of people,
Jostling and stampeding in the Valley of Vision,
knocking down walls
and hollering to the mountains, “Attack! Attack!”
Old enemies Elam and Kir arrive armed to the teeth—
weapons and chariots and cavalry.
Your fine valleys are noisy with war,
chariots and cavalry charging this way and that.
God has left Judah exposed and defenseless.
8-11 You assessed your defenses that Day, inspected your arsenal of weapons in the Forest Armory. You found the weak places in the city walls that needed repair. You secured the water supply at the Lower Pool. You took an inventory of the houses in Jerusalem and tore down some to get bricks to fortify the city wall. You built a large cistern to ensure plenty of water.
You looked and looked and looked, but you never looked to him who gave you this city, never once consulted the One who has long had plans for this city.
12-13 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
called out on that Day,
Called for a day of repentant tears,
called you to dress in somber clothes of mourning.
But what do you do? You throw a party!
Eating and drinking and dancing in the streets!
You barbecue bulls and sheep, and throw a huge feast—
slabs of meat, kegs of beer.
“Seize the day! Eat and drink!
Tomorrow we die!”
14 God-of-the-Angel-Armies whispered to me his verdict on this frivolity: “You’ll pay for this outrage until the day you die.” The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says so.
The Key of the Davidic Heritage
15-19 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, spoke: “Come. Go to this steward, Shebna, who is in charge of all the king’s affairs, and tell him: What’s going on here? You’re an outsider here and yet you act like you own the place, make a big, fancy tomb for yourself where everyone can see it, making sure everyone will think you’re important. God is about to sack you, to throw you to the dogs. He’ll grab you by the hair, swing you round and round dizzyingly, and then let you go, sailing through the air like a ball, until you’re out of sight. Where you’ll land, nobody knows. And there you’ll die, and all the stuff you’ve collected heaped on your grave. You’ve disgraced your master’s house! You’re fired—and good riddance!
20-24 “On that Day I’ll replace Shebna. I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I’ll dress him in your robe. I’ll put your belt on him. I’ll give him your authority. He’ll be a father-leader to Jerusalem and the government of Judah. I’ll give him the key of the Davidic heritage. He’ll have the run of the place—open any door and keep it open, lock any door and keep it locked. I’ll pound him like a nail into a solid wall. He’ll secure the Davidic tradition. Everything will hang on him—not only the fate of Davidic descendants but also the detailed daily operations of the house, including cups and cutlery.
25 “And then the Day will come,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies, “when that nail will come loose and fall out, break loose from that solid wall—and everything hanging on it will go with it.” That’s what will happen. God says so.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
The people of Judah were behaving like their pagan neighbors, so it was only right that Isaiah should include them in the list of nations God would judge. Yes, in His mercy, the Lord would deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrian army, but He would not deliver them from Babylon.
The unbelief of the people is described. In Isaiah’s day, Jerusalem was a joyous city as people would engage in all kinds of celebrations. The popular philosophy was, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die”. But the prophet did not participate in the parties, for he saw a day coming when death and destruction would reign in the city of David. The people went up to the housetops, but the prophet went down into one of the three valleys around Jerusalem; there God gave him a vision.
The people did everything but trust the Lord. God had sent the nation many prophets to warn them, but the people would not listen. Now it was too late; their sins could not be forgiven because their hearts were hard. Judah would go into captivity, and God’s word to Isaiah would be fulfilled (Is. 6:9–13).
The leaders were unfaithful. Had the leaders been faithful to the Lord and called the people to repentance, there might have been hope. But too many of the leaders were like Shebna, thinking only of themselves. As treasurer (steward), Shebna was second to King Hezekiah in authority but he used his authority (and possibly the king’s money) to build himself a monumental tomb and to acquire chariots. Shebna was not a spiritual man, and he probably sided with the pro-Egypt party in Judah. Politics over religion. Religion over relationship with God. Lost with no hope.
God chose a new man, Eliakim (“God will raise up”), and called him “My servant.” Instead of exploiting the people, he would be a father to them and use his “key” (authority, v. 22) for the good of the nation. He would be like a dependable peg, hammered into the wall, on which one could hang many burdens. But even a godly leader like Eliakim could not prevent the ultimate fall of Judah, for one day the whole nation would fall.
Eliakim is a picture of Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:7), the greatest Servant of all. Jesus the One on whom all sin was placed and erased forever.
We are learning so much for our lives now through your prophet Isaiah who warned your chosen long ago. Thank you for the warning for us today. I repent of “storing” my relationship with you at times. I repent of leaning toward the politics of religion versus nailing my relationship with you through prayer filled adoration while seeking you first before doing anything of significance. Thank you for your forgiveness, help, provisions, and protection. Most of all thank you for loving me the way you do.
In Jesus Name, Amen