The contrast between Isaiah 34 and 35

Isaiah 34 (Judgment) [Hell]
Isaiah 35 (Salvation) [Heaven]
Trusting the world/self
Trusting God
Becomes a desert
Becomes a garden
No way (Isa 34:10)
A highway (Isa 35:8)
Destruction and desolation
Restoration and renewal
The power of the Gentiles will be broken
The redeemed will see the kingdom of God
God's wrath against the nations
God's glory transforming Zion
God, not the world, is the one to fear
God, not the world, is the one to hope in


God, Not the World, is the One to Fear (Isaiah 34)

Titles for Isaiah 34: Judgment -- Listen, Look into the Scroll. When You Don't Trust God. Judgment, an Unpalatable Topic: Painful passages about divine wrath and judgment, such as Isaiah 34, are hard to read and take in, but Isaiah does not spare our feelings.

Listen, Pay Attention, Hear, Look, Read and Learn that (34:1, 16):
  1. God will Judge the World (1-15).
  2. God's Plan will Happen (16-17).
According to Isaiah 34, God-neglect will turn us into an eternally barren desert. But if we trust God, our desert will be transformed into a garden. That is what the grace of God can do (Isaiah 35). Each of us is moving in one of these two directions, either into judgment or into salvation. What God wants is to save you.


How Satan Tests Your Faith (Isaiah 36)

Titles for Isaiah 36: The Ultimatum. How Satan Tests Your Faith. How Satan Makes You Give Up. Satan's Attack: Give Up and Surrender.

Isaiah 36-39 appears to have been designed to act as a bridge between its two halves (1-35 and 40-66). The issue in these chapters is absolutely central to the book's total message--the issue of trust and where that trust is placed. The Assyrian invader puts the issue most succinctly: "On whom are you depending?" (Isa 36:5, NIV) This is the question which the book of Isaiah forces us to ponder again and again, and with good reason, for our response to it will determine the whole shape of our lives.


Wrath and Judgment (Isaiah 34)

Serious passages about divine wrath and judgment, such as Isaiah 34, are hard to read and take in. Isaiah does not try to spare our feelings. If anything, for the most part, we do not feel as he did (Isa 21:4), with a heart broken for the lost when they feel the blow of the divine hand after a lifetime of hostility toward God. Like it or not, Scripture--from Genesis to Revelation--declare that there will be such a day coming.

The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23a), and death it will be. It will be the outpouring of divine exasperation when once divine patience had prevailed throughout one's life.

Isaiah's picture of mountains soaked with the blood of the slain (Isa 34:3) is gory and gruesome, just to read. What would the eventual reality be like? Alec Motyer's translation reads:


Judgment (Isaiah 34) and Salvation (Isaiah 35)

The theme of Isaiah 34 is the final overthrow of the world in all its hostility to God's rule. [Judgment: Listen, Look into the Scroll (34:1-17).] Isaiah 35 paints a glorious picture of the final pilgrimage of the Lord's people to their eternal and blissful destination in Zion. [Salvation: A Highway Will Be There for the Redeemed (35:1-10).]
  1. Judgment: Listen, Look into the Scroll (Isaiah 34).
  2. Salvation: A Highway for the Redeemed (Isaiah 35).
Trusting God to Ruin the Nations and Transform Zion (Isaiah 34-35) [Gary Smith]
  1. God's Wrath against the Nations (34:1-17)
    1. Learn that God will judge the nations (1-15).
      1. Judgment on heaven and earth (1-4).
      2. The sword against "Edom" (5-7).
      3. The devastated land (8-15).
    2. Learn that God's plan will happen (16-17).
  2. God's Glory Transforming Zion (35:1-10). Ultimate realities: pilgrims to Zion.
    1. God's transformation of nature (1-2): New world, a promise to the pilgrims.
    2. God's transformation of the weak and blind (3-6a): New life, salvation for the pilgrims.
    3. God's transformed people will return (6b-10): New highway, homecoming for pilgrims.


See The King in His Beauty (Isaiah 33): Questions

Isaiah 32-33 is about a king (32:1; 33:17), who is the Lord (33:22). Isaiah 32-33 tells us about:
  1. A king and his kingdom (32:1-20). Righteous King, New Society (32:1-20). A king of righteousness and peace (Isa 32:1,17). 
  2. A king who is exalted (33:1-16). Be Our Strength Every Morning (33:1-16). Dwell with Fire on the Heights (Isa 33:14-16). Be our strength every morning (Isa 33:2).
  3. A king in his beauty (33:17-24). See The King In His Beauty (33:17-24). Your eyes will see the king (Isa 33:17; 6:5).


Psalm 64

Measure For Measure (Derek Kidner)
  1. Insidious attack (1-6).
  2. Exemplary punishment (7-10).
The Retributive God (J.A. Motyer, New Bible Commentary)
  1. Praying for protection (1-2).
  2. The attack (3-4).
  3. Denial of retribution (5-6).
  4. The counterattack (7-8).
  5. Affirmation of retribution (9).
  6. Rejoicing in protection (10).

Finding Solace from Tormentors (Moody Bible Commentary)

  1. Unburdening the torment of heart to God (1-6).
  2. Affirming the judgment of tormentors (7-8).
  3. Anticipating the glory of the future with God (9-10).

The Psalms: Songs of Jesus (Tim Keller)

  1. Voicing Complaint (1-6).
  2. The Comfort of Judgment (7-10).


Righteous King, New Society (Isaiah 32)

In a day of national emergency, Judah looked to Egypt (Isa 30:1-2; 31:1-3).

But what about us? What do we look at? Whom do we look to? These are vital questions. What direction are we moving in? Where are our eyes fixed? Are we ever and always getting closer to Jesus, ever and always "seeing him more clearly, loving him more dearly," turning our eyes on Jesus, looking full in his wonderful face?

In Isaiah's day, Judah was in a serious, life and death, national crisis. The Assyrian invasion spelled the end of all they had and hoped. They were in a "big" crisis that could destroy them. But it may not be the "big" occasions that defeat us. Often, out of sheer desperation, it sends us fleeing to Jesus in a more determined way. But what more often leads to our downfall are the "small" daily decisions.


Isaiah 31 and 32 questions

Trusting Egypt Doesn't Work (Isaiah 31:1-9); Woe Against Reliance on Egypt rather than God
  1. Why does God pronounce a woe (Isa 31:1; 22:11)? Why was it foolish for the people to trust in Egypt and her chariots (1-2; Ps 20:7; 33:17; Prov 21:31)? Why could Egypt not be trusted (3)?
  2. Who would fight for Zion and defend her? How is He described (4; Am 1:2; 3:8)? To what is God's defense compared (5)?
  3. How should the people respond to God's promise of deliverance (Isa 31:6-7; 2:20; 30:22)? Is repentance and returning to God and forsaking idols a prerequisite of divine deliverance?
  4. What would happen to Assyria, and what would the people learn (8-9)? How would Assyria fall (Isa 31:8; 37:36-38; 14:24-27; 29:5-8; 30:27-33)?
  5. What lessons should we learn from the mistake the people made in trusting Egypt without consulting God (Isa 2:22; 51:12-13; Jer 17:5; Ps 146:3)?


Sketch and Overview of Isaiah 28-33, 2016

Woe To Those Who Do Not Wait / Trust in God (Isaiah 28-35): John Oswalt's overview. Other commentators title this section as "Six Woes," "Human schemes and God's plans," and "Do not trust in enemies who will be defeated."
  • Isaiah 28-29: Bad/false leadership. Human rulers implementing human rules. Leaders are drunken, blind and deaf to God's word.
  • Isaiah 30-31: Bad/false solution/advice/decision. Trusting in Egypt, instead of God.
  • Isaiah 32-33: Good/true leadership/government. When the Messiah reigns and rules.
  • Isaiah 34-35: Conclusion of Isaiah 28-33 (13-33): The summary of judgment and blessing. A desert (Isaiah 34) or a garden (Isaiah 35).