Isaiah Chapter Ten

Judgment On The Leaders

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In our study of Isaiah chapter ten, we look at God's judgment on those that have been put into position to lead the people. We will look at the responsibility of judges and what happens when they get proud and remove the precepts of God from their thinking and rulings.

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Isaiah 10:1

Woe to those who enact unjust decrees and draft oppressive legislation

God is talking about national leaders here as He condemns those that are unjust. He is talking about those who have become corrupt and are no longer representing God as they should.

Isaiah 10:2

to deprive the impoverished of justice and rob my people's poor of their rights, looting widows and preying on orphans!

We see here what the leaders have done and they have basically turned their backs on those that need them the most. They have traded justice for greed. These words are even more relevant today as it seems that this type of leader is all that you ever see or hear about. It is like the leaders of today have a great big club and it is made up of themselves and the very richest of the rich.

Isaiah 10:3

What will you do on the day of punishment, when calamity comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth,

Isaiah asks three very important questions here to remind them and us that what they have is only temporary. The judges (leaders) will be judged at the proper time and, no matter how rich they are, they will all answer to God Almighty for what they have done. Their rich friends will not be able to save them from this judgment either.

Isaiah 10:4

so as not to squat among the prisoners or fall among the slain? Even after all this, his anger remains, his upraised hand still threatens.

When they see that the money and powerful friends are no longer there, all that the corrupt leaders will be able to do is humble themselves or die. God is calling the leaders to turn back to Him and His ways and, if they do (repent), He is just and will forgive them.

Isaiah 10:5

"Oh Ashur, the rod expressing my anger! The club in their hands is my fury!

The "Assyrian" here is Sennacherib who was used by God to humble the people of Israel. The rod and the staff (club) were tools use by shepherds to guide and correct their sheep and this verse speaks to the fact that God was trying to get His people to see the error of their ways. The same is true for us as children of God in that the Holy Spirit guides and corrects us as needed to keep us in line with the will of God.

Isaiah 10:6

I am sending him against a hypocritical nation, ordering him to march against a people who enrage me, to take the spoil and the plunder and trample them down like mud in the street.

God tells us exactly what He sent the Assyrians to do and it was simply to conquer the people of Israel. God did this to bring the people to repentance so that they might be saved. We all, at some point in our walk with the Lord, ask the question "Why is this happening to me?". The answer may simply be that God wants to humble us so that we depend on Him more and trust in Him more. This can be true for us individually as well as together as a church or nation. A person or nation that has wandered a little too far from God's will for them can expect God to do a work like this in hopes of turning them back to Him. That is the loving correction of our Father in heaven.

Isaiah 10:7

That is not what Ashur intends, that is not what they think; rather, they mean to destroy, to cut down nation after nation.

The Assyrians were not interested in what God would have them do but were only looking to extend their territory and glory. Sometimes, we can be like the Assyrians in that we want to do the will of God but we want to do it our way.

Isaiah 10:8 & 9

For [their king] says, 'Aren't all my commanders kings? Hasn't Kalno [suffered] like Kark'mish, Hamat like Arpad, Shomron like Dammesek?

God shows us here the condition of the heart of the Assyrian leader and it is full of pride. He boasts of all of the lands that he has conquered and intends to do the same to the land of Judah. This is another reminder to us that God desires a humble heart and that pride is not of God. It was pride that caused the devil to want to replace God and be thrown out of heaven. It is this same sinful pride in the hearts of some leaders today that will lead to judgment just as it is here for the Assyrian. Even some Christian leaders take so much pride in their words that they try to replace the Word of God with their own. You can listen to them preach and they share all kinds of their own words and ideas yet share little if any of the Word from the Bible. This is what the apostle Peter was talking about ( 2 Peter 2) and this will be judged as we see in Revelation chapter twenty.

Isaiah 10:10 & 11

Just as my hand reached the kingdoms of non-gods, with more images than in Yerushalayim and Shomron; so won't I do to Yerushalayim and her non-gods what I did to Shomron and her idols?'"

This passage recounts the fact that God had brought other nations into submission to him as well as the northern kingdom of Israel and, based on that fact, the same will happen to Judah.

Isaiah 10:12

Therefore when Adonai has done everything he intends to do to Mount Tziyon and Yerushalayim, "I will punish the king of Ashur for the boasting that comes from his proud heart and from reveling in his arrogant looks.

Here, God lets the Assyrians know that their time to answer for their pride is coming but first He will use them for His purpose with Israel. The charge against them is specific as God says that it is their pride that will bring judgment. It is the same with many who reject Yeshua as Lord and Savior in that their pride will not allow them to acknowledge the fact that they are morally bankrupt and require rescue. We need to remind ourselves and them that pride always leads to judgment.

Isaiah 10:13 & 14

For he says, "'With my own strong arm I have done this, and with my wisdom, because I'm so clever! I erased the boundaries between peoples, I plundered their stores for the future; as a mighty man, I subjugated the inhabitants. My hand found the riches of the peoples like a nest; and as one gathers abandoned eggs, I gathered the whole earth! Not one wing fluttered, not one beak opened or let out a chirp!'"

The words of the king are remembered and used as evidence against him. We see from his own words that he does not acknowledge the hand of God in the affairs of his nation. He has set up himself and his nation to be all powerful but the fact of the matter is that God is going to show them what real power is. The same could be said today of many countries in the world. With our huge military budgets and national pride, we have forgotten that it is God that is over all and it is him working in and through us that brings greatness. We will toss the word of God out of our institutions such as schools and courts and then expect God to continue to bless us. My friends, we need to take to heart what God is saying to the king of Assyria.

Isaiah 10:15

Should the axe glorify itself over the one who chops with it? Should the saw magnify itself over the one who moves it? It's as if a stick could wave the hand that raises it up, or as if a wooden staff could lift [a person, who is] not made of wood.

God asks questions of the people to get them to see how ridiculous it is for men to be proud and not give God the credit for the things he has done. We recognize the examples of tools in this verse and realize that they are nothing without the one who powers them. God is reminding them and us that we, too, are nothing and can do nothing without him and his power.

Isaiah 10:16

Therefore the Lord, ADONAI-Tzva'ot, will send leanness to his well-fed ones; and in place of his glory, a fire will be kindled that will burn and burn.

Because of the pride of their leader, the Assyrian soldiers were to get a disease that would take away their ability to fight. The king may have trained up the armies but he will be reminded that God is in control. This is a good reminder for us in that we cannot get caught up in pride over things that we have done but instead we must always give God the credit for being the power in us to do anything.

Isaiah 10:17-19

The light of Isra'el will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, burning and devouring his thorns and briars in a single day. The glory of his forest and of his fertile land he will consume body and soul, like an invalid wasting away. So few forest trees will remain that a child could list them.

Throughout the Bible fire is a symbol of refining (purifying) things and here we see that the fire of the Lord will cleanse the land of the Assyrians. We see from the references "Light of Israel" and "Holy One" that this judgment will be by the only one that is qualified to judge and that is Yeshua Messiah. This day is very similar to the judgment described in Revelation.

Isaiah 10:20-22

On that day the remnant of Isra'el, those of the house of Ya'akov who escaped, will no longer rely on the man who struck them down, but will truly rely on ADONAI, the Holy One of Isra'el. A remnant will return, the remnant of Ya'akov, to the mighty God. For, although your people, Isra'el, are like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with justice.

God's correction will be heeded by some of the Israelites and they will repent and turn back to their Provider. Throughout the Bible, the number four is associated with trials and testing and here the word "remnant" is repeated four times. This tells of the fact that through this massive trial (the exile of God's people to Assyria) only a portion of the people will come to their senses. For those that do not, their relationship with their Creator is destroyed in the judgment. The same is true for us today as God has called us to turn from our ways to His ways (repent) and those that do not will be judged. This same type of correction is also what is coming in the future as described in Revelation 6 and we see that the leaders of the earth will know that it is God who is really in charge.

Isaiah 10:23

Adonai ELOHIM-Tzva'ot will bring about this decreed destruction throughout all the land.

After the remnant has repented, then God will turn to judging those that are not His people. In this judgment, everyone will see that it is God who is in control. The destruction must occur so that a strong foundation can be laid for rebuilding.

Isaiah 10:24

Therefore Adonai ELOHIM-Tzva'ot says: "My people living in Tziyon, don't be afraid of Ashur, even when he strikes you with a stick and raises his staff against you, the way it was in Egypt.

God reminds His people of how they were delivered from Egypt. Just as they were beaten and made slaves in Egypt, the Assyrians have done the same to them. Just as God delivered them at that time, he will do so again. This is also a reminder for us that we do not need to fear anything or anyone of this world as fear (other than the fear of God) is not of God.

Isaiah 10:25

For in but a little while, my fury will end; and my anger will have destroyed them."

God encourages his people with the fact that he is forgiving and, if they turn back to him, he will once again be on their side. When that relationship is restored, God will turn against those that have come against his people. That is the same God that we serve today and we can be sure that he is on our side and will handle those who mean us harm.

Isaiah 10:26

ADONAI-Tzva'ot will wield a whip against them, as he did when striking Midyan at the Rock of 'Orev; as his staff was over the sea, he will raise it, the way it was in Egypt.

God reminds his people of two times in the past that he had delivered them from their enemy. This verse demonstrates the importance of sharing with others what God has done and is doing in our lives. By sharing, we can be used to remind others that God is there for them and that he will deliver them just as he has done for us in the past. You can share a testimony with us and we will publish it to encourage others.

Isaiah 10:27

On that day his burden will fall from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck; the yoke will be destroyed by your prosperity.

God's encouragement to his people is that, if they humble themselves and repent, he will rescue them from their enemies. The yoke of slavery will be broken because God will cause his people to prosper. This is a picture of what happened with the people of this time but it is also the same for us. If we turn to him (repent), God will break the yoke of slavery to sin once and for all. Whatever we are dealing with, God can give us the power to overcome.

Isaiah 10:28-31

He has come to 'Ayat and passed through Migron. He has stored his equipment at Mikhmas. They have crossed the pass, then lodged at Geva. Ramah is shaking, Giv'at-Sha'ul has fled. Cry, shriek, Bat-Gallim! Listen, Layish! Poor 'Anatot! Madmenah is in flight, The people of Gevim take cover.

This passage describes the march of the Assyrians through the land towards Jerusalem. They are spreading fear throughout the land but God is still in control and waiting for his people to cry out to him for help. God is faithful and, if we cry out to him, he will answer and take care of His children.

Isaiah 10:32

This very day he will stop at Nov; and he will shake his fist at the mountain of the daughter of Tziyon, at the hill of Yerushalayim.

Isaiah assures the people that the Assyrians will not take Jerusalem and in fact their march was stopped. This is similar to what is coming in the future as described by John in Revelation 19 & 20. Today, there is much debate about a Mideast peace plan and the ownership of the city of Jerusalem. The fact of the matter is that God has chosen Jerusalem as his city and it cannot be changed.

Isaiah 10:33 & 34

See how Adonai ELOHIM-Tzva'ot lops off the branches with terrible violence! The ones standing highest are chopped down, the lofty are laid low. He will hack down the forest underbrush with an axe, and the L'vanon in its splendor falls.

At this point in time, Lebanon was known for its great forests of cedar trees and a picture of earthly glory. Isaiah tells them that judgment is coming and that even the great trees will be cut down.

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