12/06/2010

You Have Forgotten God (Isaiah 17,18)

The 4th oracle (Isa 13:1; 14:18; 15:1) concerns the Syria-Israel alliance of Isaiah's time (Isa 7:1-16; 8:1-4). The repeated point Isaiah makes is simple: How foolish man (Israel) trusts in visible tangible security (such as Syria), rather than trusting in God Almighty, whose purposes will always prevail and will never be thwarted (Isa 14:27).

Syria, whom Israel Trusted, will be Destroyed (Isa 17:1-11)

Ephraim (Isa 17:3; northern 10 tribes of Israel) formed an alliance with Syria to combat the Assyrians. But through Isaiah God announced the destruction of Damascus (Isa 17:1), the capital of Syria, which occurred in 732 B.C. On account of God's judgment, the 3-fold use of the phrase "In that day" (Isa 17:4,7,9) signifies:
  • the fading/declining glory of those who trusted in man (Isa 17:4-6)
  • a faithful godly remnant looking to their Creator (Isa 17:7), and turning away from idolatry (Isa 17:8)
  • human power is discredited (Isa 17:9)
Why did this happen? Israel's fall was not a political miscalculation, but spiritual arrogance. Isaiah spells it out in Isa 17:10: "You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress."

The Mighty Nations of the World are subject to God (Isa 17:12-18:7)

Isaiah summons the nations (Isa 17:12) and all peoples of the world (Isa 18:3) to redirect its attention to the fact that they are subject to God's sovereign rule over history. God will frustrate all human attempts at securing the world without God. The truth underlying human might in history is that when the moment is right, God will act and the arrogant will be destroyed (Isa 17:13,14).

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