10.09.09, Isaiah 28:7-22

Posted on October 8, 2009


7 And these also stagger from wine
and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
they stagger when seeing visions,
they stumble when rendering decisions.

8 All the tables are covered with vomit
and there is not a spot without filth.

9 “Who is it he is trying to teach?
To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
to those just taken from the breast?

10 For it is:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there.”

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
God will speak to this people,

12 to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.

13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there—
so that they will go and fall backward,
be injured and snared and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers
who rule this people in Jerusalem.

15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,
with the grave we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
and falsehood our hiding place.”

16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

17 I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
and water will overflow your hiding place.

18 Your covenant with death will be annulled;
your agreement with the grave will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
you will be beaten down by it.

19 As often as it comes it will carry you away;
morning after morning, by day and by night,
it will sweep through.”
The understanding of this message
will bring sheer terror.

20 The bed is too short to stretch out on,
the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.

21 The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.

22 Now stop your mocking,
or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has told me
of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

Wisdom of the Wise

This is a strange little passage, but has a very interesting nugget of insight.  The main theme revolves strangely around the idea of nonsense, that someone is mocking the teachings of God with a little chantey:

Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there.

In Hebrew, this would sound kind of like nonsense words: “Blah blah blah blah!”  And in this way, it was a mockery of the prophets, that their teachings were nothing but nonsense to everyone.

But God doesn’t ignore this, because he responds in kind, teaching the people of Israel with strange lips and foreign tongues, turning their plans for prosperity and longevity on their heads.  And this counter-action of God is summed up in this wonderful verse:

21 The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.

This reference to the valley of Gibeon is from the book of Joshua, when an alliance of five kings attacks an ally of the Israelites, and in order to fight longer and defeat their enemies, Joshua prays that the sun stop in its course, and it does – if that isn’t an example of strange, alien work, I don’t know what is.

I think this is all to say that God does what he wants, the way he wants, when he wants.  We waste a lot of energy trying to figure out the logic of all things, and I think this is only natural as God gave us logic to understand our world and Him.  But despite this, it is important to remember that God is greater than even logic, hovers above common sense, is super-natural.  So even when our senses reel and confusion reigns, it’s not so with God – even in the most chaotic circumstances, He still is sitting enthroned and in control.

Questions

1. What is one situation where you have no idea what God is up to?

2. What is one area of your life that you exclusively use human wisdom, logic, and planning to live?

3. When was the last time you saw God something strange, and alien, totally unexpected…but still good?

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10.09.09, Isaiah 28:7-22

Posted on October 8, 2009


7 And these also stagger from wine
and reel from beer:
Priests and prophets stagger from beer
and are befuddled with wine;
they reel from beer,
they stagger when seeing visions,
they stumble when rendering decisions.

8 All the tables are covered with vomit
and there is not a spot without filth.

9 “Who is it he is trying to teach?
To whom is he explaining his message?
To children weaned from their milk,
to those just taken from the breast?

10 For it is:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there.”

11 Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues
God will speak to this people,

12 to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.

13 So then, the word of the LORD to them will become:
Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there—
so that they will go and fall backward,
be injured and snared and captured.

14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers
who rule this people in Jerusalem.

15 You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,
with the grave we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
and falsehood our hiding place.”

16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

17 I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
and water will overflow your hiding place.

18 Your covenant with death will be annulled;
your agreement with the grave will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
you will be beaten down by it.

19 As often as it comes it will carry you away;
morning after morning, by day and by night,
it will sweep through.”
The understanding of this message
will bring sheer terror.

20 The bed is too short to stretch out on,
the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.

21 The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.

22 Now stop your mocking,
or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has told me
of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

Wisdom of the Wise

This is a strange little passage, but has a very interesting nugget of insight.  The main theme revolves strangely around the idea of nonsense, that someone is mocking the teachings of God with a little chantey:

Do and do, do and do,
rule on rule, rule on rule;
a little here, a little there.

In Hebrew, this would sound kind of like nonsense words: “Blah blah blah blah!”  And in this way, it was a mockery of the prophets, that their teachings were nothing but nonsense to everyone.

But God doesn’t ignore this, because he responds in kind, teaching the people of Israel with strange lips and foreign tongues, turning their plans for prosperity and longevity on their heads.  And this counter-action of God is summed up in this wonderful verse:

21 The LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.

This reference to the valley of Gibeon is from the book of Joshua, when an alliance of five kings attacks an ally of the Israelites, and in order to fight longer and defeat their enemies, Joshua prays that the sun stop in its course, and it does – if that isn’t an example of strange, alien work, I don’t know what is.

I think this is all to say that God does what he wants, the way he wants, when he wants.  We waste a lot of energy trying to figure out the logic of all things, and I think this is only natural as God gave us logic to understand our world and Him.  But despite this, it is important to remember that God is greater than even logic, hovers above common sense, is super-natural.  So even when our senses reel and confusion reigns, it’s not so with God – even in the most chaotic circumstances, He still is sitting enthroned and in control.

Questions

1. What is one situation where you have no idea what God is up to?

2. What is one area of your life that you exclusively use human wisdom, logic, and planning to live?

3. When was the last time you saw God something strange, and alien, totally unexpected…but still good?

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