-Ephraim, or in other words the Northern Kingdom, has captivity predicted by Isaiah at the Word of the LORD. They are like drunkards wearing a crown of pride, but their glory is fading quickly as the LORD is sending His strong and mighty agent as a tempest of destruction (Isaiah 28:1-4). “In that day,” the day of future restoration, the LORD of hosts will become a beautiful crown of glory to His remnant people, and a Spirit of justice and strength will preside giving God’s people power to repel the onslaught at the gate. The priest and the prophet who are drunk on their worldly power will reel, stagger, totter, and be confused in their deception. Their tables are full of “filthy vomit” without a single clean place (Isaiah 28:5-8). They are detestable in the LORD’s sight. God says, “Order on order, line on line, a little here, a little there.” Ephraim wanted to have rest for their weariness apart from looking to the LORD. God says that since they would not come to Him, He would give them the Assyrians as conquerors because of their haughty, high-minded, selfish attitudes of mockery. They treated the prophet Isaiah like a disrespected school teacher. Their minds were made up and they weren’t changing. Therefore, God will turn them over to going away into captivity, stumbling backward, unrelenting brokenness, becoming ensnared (Isaiah 28:9-13). *Application* Here is a matter of influence. Who influences your daily decisions? Are you doing things in your own power looking to the influencers of the world like a drunkard? Or, are you turning your focus to Christ and His Word for peace, rest, and success? God’s ways are not hard when we learn to submit to His authority and wisdom and learn from His ultimate precepts (Psalms 19:8; 119).
-Judah is also warned in this passage. The rulers of the people in Jerusalem are called scoffers. They have made a covenant with death and a pact with Sheol (the underworld, hell). They falsely assumed the overwhelming scourge of foreign invasion would pass by them. They made falsehood their refuge and concealed themselves with deception (Isaiah 28:14-15). Because of their waywardness and in spite of their unfaithfulness God pronounces a Messianic claim in verse sixteen, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in It will not be disturbed.” The LORD “will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the level; then the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies and the waters will overflow the secret place (Isaiah 28:17).” The covenant of death will be canceled by the Messiah and the pact of Sheol will not stand. The LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim and Gibeon (Where God fought for David and Joshua, 2 Samuel 5:20, Joshua 10:1-14). He promises to do His task, His unusual task to work His work as only He can. It is an extraordinary work (Isaiah 28:18-21). There can be no mistaking that this is the work of the sacrificial atonement by the cross of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Because the Lord is the Redeemer, His people are commanded not to carry on as scoffers. If they do there will be the consequence of their fetters being made stronger. His decisive destruction on all the earth has been made known to the true prophet, which calls for repentance and faith (Isaiah 28:22). The last part of the chapter reflects in poetic prose the need to listen to God’s wisdom for healing and proper instruction for the purpose of wisdom. God, while He expects pain in the offering, will not continue to thresh the humble forever. He will eventually make the weak strong. “This comes from the LORD of hosts, who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great (Isaiah 28:23-29).” *Application* There is amazing power in our weakness before God. If He will use His own Son as an example of suffering and weakness for the greater Kingdom purposes, why would we expect anything different? This is simply the way of God (1 Peter 1:6; 2:4-10; 4:12-14). God wants to instruct and teach you properly (Isaiah 28:26). Go through all that the LORD asks of you in humble submission to His plans and purposes. He will lift you up too in the end. Seek perseverance and steadfastness!
Verse to Memorize: Isaiah 28:16