Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Isaiah 2: 19-22

19 Men will go into caves of the rocks
And into holes of the ground
Before the terror of the LORD
And the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
20 In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs
Before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!!

Praise be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the One through whom we work out our salvation with fear and trembling! He is risen, indeed, that we might worship and serve Him in humility. And as much as that first Easter Sunday resurrection morning was a glorious day, there will be another Day in which we will all see and acknowledge His glory! But, this will not be a glorious day for all....

We conclude Isaiah, Chapter 2, today, with a preview of the Day of the Lord, in which the prophet uses the term "terror of the Lord" to describe the destruction of the Day in tandem with "splendor of His majesty" that which believers in Him would expect from the King in His coming.

Two posts ago, I referenced Revelation 6, which parallels verse 19 and 21 of our text today as well as Isaiah 2:10:

"Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
--Revelation 6: 15-17

Those who have been in denial of the Lord will become fully aware of Him in the events of a Day like no other. They will try to hide themselves from His presence. Hide their sins from His judgment. But, there will be no mercy shown in this time.

Verse 19 holds the first of two references I'll mention to texts in Genesis, the beginnings of creation. "Men will go into holes of the ground." More literally translated, men will go into holes of the dust. This would be the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 3's predicament for unsaved man: "'For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.'" (Genesis 3:19b) Though saved man will be dust for a time, their resurrected souls will be given new bodies for a new heaven and a new earth to come, following the Day.

Verse 20 brings more creation to the forefront: moles and bats! It will take the bringing about of the Day of the Lord for the final dispensation of idols (see last week's post). Why moles and bats? It's not clear from my study resources if mole is a literal mole or a rat or a mole-rat. It may be a weasel! The Hebrew word refers to a burrowing animal, and the idea of unsaved man burrowing itself into the ground, the depths of a rock, a place of darkness is the image I'm taking away from all this. Also, Leviticus 11 puts both moles and rats on unclean lists: mole being a "swarming" animal and bats being lumped in with "birds." The Day may well bring for some the realization that their idols are truly unclean.

"The darkest holes, where the moles and the bats lodge, are the fittest places for idols, that have eyes and see not; and God can force men to cast their own idols there."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

A powerful ending in verse 22: "Stop regarding man...." I like how the Amplified Bible issues the command: "Cease to trust in [weak, frail, and dying] man, whose breath is in his nostrils [for so short a time]; in what sense can he be counted as having intrinsic worth?" The word for cease in the Hebrew means "to be flabby." Do you love that?! Think of the wavering, jiggling, back and forth. Reminds me of James in his exhortation to stay steady on God:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
--James 1: 5-7 (emphases mine)

The flabby wisdom of fleeting, vaporous men! This is what Judah followed. Although Jerusalem's ultimate issue is their having turned from God, the close-behind issue is that they put their trust in the things of man.

"Thus says the LORD,
'Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the LORD.'"
--Jeremiah 17:5

Note in verse 22 the second reference to Genesis, as we look back upon the creation of man.

"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
--Genesis 2:7

God formed man from dust and not only gave the first man life through breath, but continues to give life to all men by giving them breath. The curse of the fall of man would not only return him to the ground but his sin would drive away the basic fundamental to, "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves." (Psalm 100:3a) Why should man be esteemed?

"Put not your trust in man, nor make even the greatest and mightiest of men your confidence; cease to do so. Let not your eye be to the power of man, for it is finite and limited, derived and depending; it is not from him that your judgment proceeds. Let not him be your fear, let not him be your hope; but look up to the power of God, to which all the powers of men are subject and subordinate; dread his wrath, secure his favour, take him for your help, and let your hope be in the Lord your God."
--Matthew Henry

Chapter 3: "God will remove the leaders".... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Isaiah 3: 1-5

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).