“The Lord sends a message against Jacob, And it falls on Israel. And all the people know it, That is, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, Asserting in pride and in arrogance of heart:’The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with smooth stones; The sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.’ Therefore the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin and spurs their enemies on, The Arameans on the east and the Philistines on the west; And they devour Israel with gaping jaws. In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away And His hand is still stretched out. Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, Nor do they seek the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 9:8-13 NASB)
I’ve been very busy of late, so I haven’t been able to formulate my thoughts for another post. However, a quick one tonight. This passage has two lessons. First, there is a place when persistence is arrogance. In the first section, God describes the pride of the Northern Kingdom as evidenced in their persistence in rebuilding their damaged buildings and attempting to plant nicer, better trees after they had been taken down (presumably by the LORD). The issue here is that they should’ve recognized God’s judgment on them, because they had the law and knew they weren’t pleasing God. They wouldn’t have been so prideful if they had recognized their condition. Now, it remains to be seen that God deals as such with nations today, because he does not have the relationship with any other nation that he has with Israel. However, the lesson is that we can and should recognize as Christians when we are chastened by Him, and respond appropriately.
Second, in the second part, especially v13, it is shown strongly in the form of parallelism I think that God is the one who struck the Israelites, even though it occurred through human agency, namely the Arameans and the Philistines. This is a Biblical example (there are many) of how God acts through human means. The sovereignty of God is in clear view as it says that God “raised” them up for this purpose. Yet, it is reasonable to see here given the theology of other passages (another topic for another time), that God does not act here in contradiction to their free will decisions nor absolves them of the sinfulness of their actions. Yet, let the emphasis be on God’s sovereignty in the matter.
I hope these brief thoughts are coherent. In upcoming posts, I may post something of a personal nature in the next day or two about a recent family loss. I also have been reading a book titled The Colson Way by Owen Strachan, which is biographical summary of the late evangelical leader Chuck Colson. I am hoping to offer some thoughts on issues related evangelical-fundamentalist discussions, the issues of how to relate to the culture while remaining separate and focusing on the gospel, and what is the proper role of social action.