3/23/2015

The Whole World in His Hands (Isaiah 13-27)

Isaiah 13-27; 13:11; 26:3

"I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their sin. I will crush the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the mighty" (Isa 13:11, NLT). "You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You" (Isa 26:3, HCSB).

2 part outline of Isaiah (4+3=7 parts):
  1. Judgment (1-39): Assyrian period. God is the Holy One of Israel.
    1. The Lord is King (1-12). Prophesies concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
    2. Lord of the nations (13-27). The whole world in his hand. Prophesies concerning the nations.
    3. Human schemes and God's plans (28-35). The source of true deliverance. God pronounces woe on human alliances. The Lord of history.
    4. In whom shall we trust? (36-39) Good and bad Hezekiah. Historical interlude.
  2. Salvation (40-66): Babylonian period. God is the Suffering Servant.
    1. Comfort, my people (40-51).
    2. Grace triumphant (51-55). Salvation through the suffering servant. The work of the servant.
    3. A new heaven and a new earth (56-66). The future glory of God's people. Waiting for a new world. The book of the conqueror.
3 part outline of Isaiah:
  1. The King (1-39). Hope amid judgment.
  2. The Servant (40-55). Salvation through suffering.
  3. The Conqueror (56-66). A glorious hope.
Outline of Isaiah 13-27:
  1. The first series of (five) oracles: sure promises (13-20). Isaiah helps Judah to see the nations of the day as entirely subject to the sovereign rule of God. Five oracles display the basic biblical conviction that as universal Creator, the God of Israel is not limited to Israel but holds all nations accountable for their deeds (Isa 13:11; Rom 3:29-30). The OT prophets have numerous oracles about other nations (see chart). The five oracles reveal God ruling over:
    • Babylon and Assyria (13:1–14:27): a look behind the scenes.
    • Philistia (14:28–32): the Lord's sure promises to David.
    • Moab (15:1–16:14): salvation refused by pride.
    • Damascus/Israel [Ephraim] (17:1–18:7): the way of death and the promise of life.
    • Egypt (19:1–20:6): one world, one people, one God.
  2. The second series of (five) oracles: the long night and the dawn (21-23). Isaiah again shows God ruling over the nations of the day, but now he reveals the inner character of these cultures. Five oracles reveal God's ruling over and holding accountable:
    • The wilderness/desert by the sea (21:1–10): the Babylonian principle.
    • Silence: days of darkness. Dumah (21:11–12) [Edom],
    • Desert evening: Gentile needs unsolved. Arabia (21:13–17).
    • The valley of vision (22:1–25): the unforgivable sin.
    • Tyre (23:1–18): holiness to the Lord..
  3. The third series of oracles: the world city and the city of God (24-27). This section is the third and climactic vision of God ruling the nations in judgment and salvation. While chs 13-20 and 21-23 address particular nations, chs 24-27 foresee the whole world in crisis at the end of history, but with the people of God wonderfully secured in their own city (Isa 24:4; 25:8; 26:19; 27:6). These chapters are often called "apocalyptic," since they depict the final conflict and God's victory in vivid images. Often referred to as "the Little Apocalypse," chapters 24–27 turn our attention from divine judgment on individual nations to a global apocalyptic vision of the end of the whole earth.
    • The city of meaninglessness (24:1-20).
    • Ultimately ... the King (24:21-23).
    • Salvation and provision: the world on Mount Zion (25:1-12).
    • The strong city (26:1-21).
    • The universal Israel (27:1-13).
As a small nation surrounded by great powers, Judah was constantly tempted to look to political and military alliances to save herself. Isaiah 1-12 focuses on Judah and ends with proclamation to the nations, while Isaiah 13-27, the second major section of Isaiah, begins by focusing on the nations and ends with Judah (Isa 13:1; 26:1; 27:13). But the overall message is the same. Salvation is found in the Lord alone (Isa 12:2). Isaiah 13-27 also reveals the sovereign ways of God with the nations, for God is no local, tribal deity but the Judge and Savior ruling over all the world. His purpose is moving human history forward for the benefit of his people. The nations in Isaiah 13-23 were all threatened by Assyria at one time or other, and were all actual or potential partners with Judah in anti-Assyrian alliances.

Isaiah 13-27 contain judgments against the nations before the reign of the Messiah is established. These judgments would be in the immediate future of the prophetic vision, perhaps with the Assyrian invasion. But at times they will include eschatological judgments (last days) as found in Revelation 4-19.
References:
  1. The Burdens Upon The Nations (Isaiah 13:1—23:18) (Isa 14:3-23).
  2. The Defeat of the Forces of Evil and the Deliverance of the People of God (Isaiah 27:1-13).
  3. Isaiah Outline 2015.
  4. God Rules Over the World (Isaiah 13). My daily bread from Dec 2010.
  5. Who Can Thwart God's Purpose (Isaiah 14). My daily bread from Dec 2010.
  6. Preaching from Isaiah (11 page pdf). Chapters:
    • 13-23 contain oracles of judgment and salvation concerning several nations whose fortunes affect Judah. He makes it clear that it is useless for them to resist the Assyrian empire or the will of God. God used the Assyrians and later the Babylonians and Persians to bring judgment and to accomplish his will.
    • 24-27 are closely related to 13-23. It is a prediction of world judgment resulting in the redemption of Israel. These chapters teach the necessity of divine discipline and redemption that awaits the faithful. Isaiah looks forward to redemption and speaks of it in present tense.
    • 28-35 contain a cycle of prophetic warnings against alliance with Egypt closing with a prophecy against the land of Edom. The warnings are pronounced as six woes.
    • 36-39 contain history, prophecy and song intermingled. These chapters are almost identical to 2 Kgs 18:13-20:19. Isaiah prophesied that Babylon and not Assyria would be God's instrument of judgment on Judah.
  7. Outline of Isaiah 13 and 14. Isaiah 13-27 contain oracles from the LORD to various nations, principally to Babylon who will rise up to crush Judah and destroy Jerusalem. Isaiah warns all these nations that God is over them and will take away their glory because of their sins. After delivering these oracles to particular nations, Isaiah then looks to the much more distant future, to the destruction of the whole world. Isaiah 13: Fall of Babylon predicted. Isaiah 14: A taunt against the king of Babylon.
  8. Outline of Isaiah 15, 16, 17, 18, 19: Oracles to various kingdoms. Philistia, Moab, Damascus and Ephraim (Syria and Israel), Ethiopia (also known as Cush), Egypt.
  9. Outline of Isaiah 20, 21, 22, 23