-First, a note as to the reference of Ariel. Ariel was another name for Jerusalem, a special name biblically referred to only in this passage. It has a couple of meanings that are interesting. First, the word means “lion of God,” which has Messianic implications and importance. Secondly, it is understood in terms of the “name of a chief of the returning exiles.”
This would solidly appear to be Messianic prophecy, which Jesus ends up quoting from in Matthew 15:7-9 and Mark 7:6-7 during His first incarnation (Isaiah 29:13-14).
-Isaiah seems to indicate some passage of time in his Holy Spirit inspired writing. The adding of year to year and observation of scheduled feasts demonstrate for us that time will elapse and traditions will build upon one another through the ages (Isaiah 29:1). There will be many arduous times in this city with lamenting and mourning, beseigements and battles, and conquering Gentiles as the people of God are brought very low for a long period of time (Isaiah 29:2-4). This, we know from history and other biblical accounts, has certainly transpired. But, there will come a day when the reckoning of God will occur, and His enemies will become like fine dust, blown away instantly and suddenly. The LORD of hosts will punish with thunder and earthquake and loud noise. With whirlwind and tempest and a flame of consuming fire He will vindicate all that has gone wrong in humanity and in particular those who wage war against Ariel (Jerusalem) to distress her. The evil of nations will never be satisfied and their thirst never quenched as their dream and lust for power and authority is denied by the Almighty (Isaiah 29:5-8). *Application* The end of the world will come in twinkling of the eye. It will happen so fast that there will be no time for contemplation or deliberation. This is why Jesus simply warned us to vigilantly be “alert” and “ready” for His return (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21).
-While the Jewish traditionalists will never get it, Isaiah distinctly points out the blindness and stupor of those who do not have a heart for the true God. Their vision is sealed and they cannot receive the true revelation “because this people draw near with their words and honor Me (the LORD) with their lip service, but they remove their hearts from Me (the LORD), and their reverence for Me (the LORD) consists of tradition learned by rote (repetition, habit, memorization, routine, Isaiah 29:13).” However, in spite of this neglect and lack of zeal for their King, God will keep His covenant in this future time with a marvelous dealing with this people. He (the Messiah) will visit them in a wonderfully marvelous way (humility) and the “wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed (Isaiah 29:14, 1 Corinthians 2-4).” Isaiah finishes up this expose on the waywardness of the religious hypocrites with the fact that all of their hidden secrets and deeds are visible by the LORD’s knowledge who sees and knows all. Therefore, they are commanded to “turn things around!” as His chosen people. The clay is not equal to the Potter. God has the ultimate understanding and will execute His righteous justice (Isaiah 29:9-16). *Application* Come clean with God. He knows the true you. Don’t go through the motions of religious ceremony and traditional rites and rituals without passion for the One who saves. He is alive and personal, and He wants your whole being to fall deeply in love with Him. Anything less amounts to unfaithful idolatry.
-The LORD promises blessing after discipline in the remaining verses here. This appears to be in the context of Christ’s eschatological rule in a world far different than what we are experiencing today. There will be no more criticizing, violence, or gloom. The new world will be characterized by sight, gladness, joy, understanding, justice, truth, guiltlessness, and sanctification with eternal awe, support, and praise to the LORD. *Application* Oh what a world we can look forward to in God’s Kingdom. Hold on Christian believer, good times are on the way!
Verse to Memorize: Isaiah 29:13