Tonight’s chapter goes into detail on how God judges Israel through an ungodly nation, Assyria. This occurs in verses 1-19. Then, in verses 20-34, we get elaboration on the remnant of Israel as well as how God will save His people.
But before we get to those sections, verses 1-4 are a holdover from the last chapter. The subject is the condemnation of Samaria and how they will suffer for not following the Lord. The main theme is bringing the mighty low that would take advantage of the weak. The refrain of judgment for these people is: “…For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 10:4 & Isaiah 9:21, et al.
The wrath of the Lord is indeed mighty against those that ignore and deride Him. The Samaritans at this time were not only preying on the weak, but were also not giving God honor as the creator of their blessings nor were they seeking God in their lives.
Verses 5-19 go into some detail about the arrogant heart of Assyria and how they will be punished. But the heart of this passage is the fact that God will use Assyria to punish Israel. Unwittingly, Assyria will be motivated by God to destroy Israel even though the Assyrian leadership will think it is their idea. The exposition of this fact tends to suggest that God does this even now: using the tyrant nations of the world to exact punishment on the deserving. Of course, whether a single person or an entire nation is punished for their sins on Earth, or in the afterlife, or whether they are completely forgiven is in total control of Almighty God (as well as dependent on our willingness to follow the gospel plan of salvation).
Take a closer look at verse 15, in which God’s dominance over a nation is likened to a worker using a simple tool. Indeed, this is how God used Assyria. The Assyrian nation was arrogant to think that they were the master of their destiny. Reading this verse, it is apparent that an evil nation is in no situation to consider that they are in full control:
“Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, Or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!” Isaiah 10:15
The last passage of this chapter in verses 20-34 addresses that holy remnant of God’s people that would eventually turn back to God. God also offers a small amount of comfort when He says that He will cause Assyria to relent in their dominance of Israel and that Assyria would fail as a nation.
The cities mentioned at the end of this passage are listed in sequence as getting closer and closer to the capital of Jerusalem as the Assyrians conquer the Israelites. There is also a reference to the remnant that God will leave behind, through which Christ would come. The people of Israel need not totally despair: God would not completely decimate His people.
The chapter ends with a final declaration of the Lord’s mighty power. The lessons we can take and apply from tonight’s lesson are as follows:
– God is not willing to tolerate evil
– God can choose to control earthly events
– Despite our wretched state as sinners, God’s love is such that He had provided a way for us to be redeemed: the sacrifice of Christ for our sins through the remnant.