Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Isaiah 18: 6 and 7

They will be left together for mountain birds of prey,
And for the beasts of the earth;
And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
And all the beasts of the earth will spend harvest time on them.
At that time a gift of homage will be brought to the Lord of hosts
From a people tall and smooth,
Even from a people feared far and wide,
A powerful and oppressive nation,
Whose land the rivers divide—
To the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, even Mount Zion.

We have reached our third post in this "Message to Ethiopia," with today probably not making things any clearer regarding for whom this prophecy is directed. But Isaiah's words themselves are not hard to understand; he even repeats himself!

With verse 6, we need to recall what we read in the previous verse. Isaiah had given us a word picture of grapevines, and God's representing Himself as a grape farmer and harvester. In a movement of perfect timing, God will "cut off the sprigs...and remove and cut away the spreading branches." (18:5) If 'sprigs' and 'branches' represent the nations of evil influence attacking God's people, then we pick up with 'They' in verse 6 being the people of those nations--armies, leaders, etc. What Isaiah describes is a massive road kill and those that will feast upon it. Note the timeframe: from "summer feeding" to "harvest time."
"'You will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,' declares the Lord God."
--Ezekiel 39:20
Is it possible that this refers to Assyria? Consider the slaughter of 185,000 such warriors by an angel of the Lord--at just the time before this army surely would have otherwise destroyed the wall of Jerusalem and taken over the city. (II Kings 19:35) Isaiah says there is the bringing of "a gift of homage" to God "to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts...." (vs. 7) That "place" would be Jerusalem, which God established as He prepared His people for entering the Promised Land.
"'But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.'"
--Deuteronomy 12: 5 and 6

Would there be any better tribute paid God for His saving work in the preservation of His people than the spoil of the army of one of Earth's greatest empires (not to mention the army itself!) in Jerusalem? Isaiah does repeat himself in verse 7 as he speaks of "...a people tall and smooth...a powerful and oppressive nation...." He uses the very same words and phrasing in verse 2, as he tells "swift messengers" to send news to this people. There is certainly a logical and Biblically supported sense in looking at this prophecy in that way.

In looking through reference materials this week, I also found another interesting viewpoint, which puts the attention back on Ethiopia. Perhaps the description we read in verse 2 is Ethiopia. (Read more here.) A cross-reference for verse 7 is from Psalm 68, a Psalm of David in which is contained a prophecy concerning the nation:

"He has scattered the peoples who delight in war.
Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God."
--Psalm 68: 30b and 31

There is the thought that, through some means, Ethiopia is going to be coming forward in acknowledgement that God is God. This may be through physical battle, as it was with Assyria. But perhaps it refers--either in addition to or instead of--to Ethiopians embracing God as their "Lord of hosts."

Acts 8:27-38 is listed as a cross-reference for verse 7, also. This is the story of Philip, an evangelist in the earliest days of the Church, who meets up with an Ethiopian eunuch. The eunuch "had come to Jerusalem to worship." (Acts 8:27) He was not able to worship within the temple (Deuteronomy 23:1 has the details on why), but was studying Isaiah 53 in his chariot when Philip approached him.

"...and, though they seem useless and worthless, they shall be an acceptable present to him who judges of men by the sincerity of their faith and love, not by the pomp and prosperity of their outward condition."
--Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

The Holy Spirit called Philip into action, and he not only led the Ethiopian in his understanding of Isaiah's prophecy concerning the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, but baptized him! I wrote a few lines ago about the greatest tribute one could bring to the Lord. Though such a physical tribute as the Assyrian army would have been recognized as a present by all, is not the greatest gift when one comes to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord!?

When I looked up the word homage, I was struck by a definition beyond gift, present, or something done out of honor or respect. Just a bit antiquated in present day, but worth a look nonetheless:
"The formal public acknowledgment by which a feudal tenant or vassal [landholder, but, largely, servant or slave] declared himself to be the man or vassal of his lord, owing him fealty and service." (brackets mine)

There is an entry in Encyclopedia Britannica that expounds on this. "Homage was essentially the acknowledgment of the bond of tenure that existed between the two [vassal and lord]. It consisted of the vassal surrendering himself to the lord, symbolized by his kneeling and giving his joined hands to the lord, who clasped them in his own, thus accepting the surrender."

I know. That would seem a huge reach from what is being said over the course of this chapter, and what Isaiah is generally speaking of in these chapters at this part of the book. Prophecy can be fulfilled multiple times. This is not a clear-cut chapter, in my mind. Plus, it is an image of grace and a story of hope and a picture of who God is--all of which I am unwilling to deny have their roots in Scripture.

"All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth,
As soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it,
And as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it."
--Isaiah 18:3 (emphasis mine)

"The Message to Egypt," as we begin Chapter 19. ...'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week:  Isaiah 19: 1-3 
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).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Isaiah 18: 4 and 5

4 For thus the Lord has told me,
“I will look from My dwelling place quietly
Like dazzling heat in the sunshine,
Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
5 For before the harvest, as soon as the bud blossoms
And the flower becomes a ripening grape,
Then He will cut off the sprigs with pruning knives
And remove and cut away the spreading branches.

Questions after last week? I know I'm still wondering about a few things. Sometimes, it can be really difficult to read the Bible and leave a reading without a full understanding. Frankly, that's where I am. I understand the ideas and actions, but I'm not clear about the "for whom." I know that God's Word and plans are not going to be completely understood by me, and I accept that, too. What I do know is that Isaiah has a message, and he has been speaking to Judah, even as his oracles are for other nations. Clinging to last week's thought from verse 3: "As soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it...."

This week, Isaiah begins another metaphoric passage, in which the Lord has revealed Himself as a grapevine tender and harvester. Even if we cannot go back with full accuracy to understand the prophecy in light of history, we can see through this passage a picture of how the Lord works--and that is always a picture worth studying.
Verse 4 explains how the Lord is going to respond in this situation. (Remember, Chapter 18 begins with 'Alas', so this is a time of trouble coming.) He is looking from in His "dwelling place, quietly...." In the King James Version, the verse reads, "I will take my rest, and I will consider...." The Amplified Bible says, "I will be still...." I have been in quite a few Bible study conversations over the years in which we have embraced the words from Psalm 46:10--"....'Be still, and know that I am God'...." (New International Version) What happens when God says to Himself, "I will be still"? I do enjoy Matthew Henry's take on that pondering:

"When he says, I will take my rest, it is not as if he were weary of governing the world, or as if he either needed or desired to retire from it and repose himself; but it intimates that the great God has a perfect, undisturbed, enjoyment of himself, in the midst of all the agitations and changes of this world.... yet even then he knows very well what men are doing and what he himself will do."
--Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible
Stillness does not mean inaction. Coupled with "know that I am God" shows us that there is indeed action to be taken on our part if we are not fully submitted to God being in control. Do we have an undisturbed love of God in the midst of agitation and change? When God watches "quietly" from His dwelling place, is He any less in control? No, of course not. That should be encouragement for all of us, even if we don't see God in action in the events of daily life. Isaiah takes the rest of verse 4 to describe God's action in the midst of His stillness.

"...Like dazzling heat in the sunshine...a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."
--vs. 4

You would expect some heat in the sun; 'dazzling' implies a little something more. Dictionary definitions include words like 'blinding,' 'impressive,' 'astonishing,' 'overpowering with intensity'. God is not just warming up the Earth; He's powering it up to impress, amaze and call attention. Yet,He is also the dew--the cool, soaking cloud of moisture--in the midst of the ragingly hot temps of summer harvest time. I like this definition, too: "Something like or compared to such drops of moisture, as in purity, delicacy or refreshing quality." ( God may be at rest, but He continues to give, under His foreknowing providence, that which is needed. As David said in his last song, there is a security in the provision of God:

"'He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,
Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.
Truly is not my house so with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured;
For all my salvation and all my desire,
Will He not indeed make it grow?....'"
--II Samuel 23: 3b-5

Verse 5 finds us, again, looking at a time of harvest. It is not hard to see how Bible commentators can point to this chapter as being a continuation of that which was begun in Chapter 17 (" plant delightful plants and set them with vine slips of a strange god...but the harvest will be a heap...." --vss. 10 and 11, excerpts). "For before the harvest...," begins 18:5, at just the proper time--after the plant buds and as the grapes appear--the vinedresser comes to prune the vines. To attain maximum fruitfulness from a vine, certain "sprigs" must be cut away. The plant's food and energy to put toward good fruit will be jeopardized by the growth of other offshoots of vines.

The God who, in His rest, continues to provide the dazzling sunshine and dew in their proper increments over the course of His perfectly timed growing season will not be late in pruning and perfecting His fruit for harvest. He will do what is necessary, when it is necessary, to bring fruition to His cause. His harvest will not be a heap because He, the Lord of the Harvest, is in control:

"It was planted in good soil beside abundant waters, that it might yield branches and bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”’ Say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers—so that all its sprouting leaves wither? And neither by great strength nor by many people can it be raised from its roots again."
--Ezekiel 17: 8 and 9
It's not how well or where we plant, but whether the Lord is our gardener.

"Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves...."
--Psalm 100, excerpt from verse 3 


"A gift of homage" is forthcoming, as we conclude Chapter 18.  ...'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week:  Isaiah 18: 6 and 7
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).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Isaiah 18:1-3

Message to Ethiopia

1 Alas, oh land of whirring wings
Which lies beyond the rivers of Cush,
Which sends envoys by the sea,
Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.
Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth,
To a people feared far and wide,
A powerful and oppressive nation
Whose land the rivers divide.
All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth,
As soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, you will see it,
And as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.

Chapter 18 is a short seven verses, but we'll spend three posts studying Isaiah's imagery. According to my study Bible, the message is for Ethiopia (or Cush, in Hebrew), a territory which included part of southern Egypt and far beyond, into modern-day Ethiopia. But, there seems to be a lot of debate as to which nation "beyond the rivers of Cush" is the prophecy's focus. Commentator Matthew Henry believes this is a prophecy extension about Assyria's demise. If you follow the link from which I found this map of Cush (see photo credit below), you will find information suggesting that the United States is the nation for whom Isaiah wrote the prophecy. I will tell you this with certainty: This gal is not here to interpret prophecy. I'm just trying to make some sense out of what I read.

The first word of verse 1 is alas, so that tells us that the news is not good for someone. "Whirring wings" brings to mind the locusts of Joel, or the Lord "whistling for the fly that is in the remotest part of the rivers of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria." (Isaiah 7:18) Large, powerful, buzzing armies! This is a land that has made a lot of "noise." Cush, by the way, is also the name of one of Noah's grandsons. Interestingly, Cush and some of the other sons of Ham became enemies of Israel down the line, with Cush being the father of Nimrod, who founded Babel, which became Babylon. (Genesis 10: 6-10) There's a lot of "noise" in that lineage.

The next ideas might also support a nation being from this region, as Isaiah makes several mentions to waterways in verse 2. Vessels made from papyrus or wicker brings to mind baby Moses' basket, hiding in the reeds. The land "the rivers divide" might well be this region, with the Nile and its tributaries breaking up the land. But, there are plenty of rivers in Assyria, too--some that would even lead to the Nile region. We can't forget last week's passage, either: "Alas [note the symmetry], the uproar of many peoples who roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rumbling of nations who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!" (Isaiah 17: 12)  Noise and water, from Assyria!

The nation was "powerful and oppressive," "to a people feared far and wide...." (vs. 2) We already know what a threat the Assyrian Empire was. Egypt could fit here, but Isaiah has a separate message for Egypt beginning with Chapter 19. (A prequel, perhaps?) And what about Ethiopia? The description of the Ethiopian from the Asbury Bible Commentary falls in line with Isaiah's description: "The tall, bronzed Ethiopian was legendary: Herodotus, writing in the fifth century B.C., described the Ethiopians as 'the tallest and most beautiful of men.'" Scripture marks them as powerful warriors:

"Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah."
--II Chronicles 14:9
It is also curious that the Ethiopians play a role--albeit, indirect--in the fulfilling of the prophecy we read about last week, from II Kings 19. We read that God slew the Assyrian army, and even though its king and his cupbearer returned to Assyria, God made the means for their demise to come about there. What helped to put the Assyrian leadership on the run home and made the armies beat louder on the doors of Jerusalem's wall? It was a threat from--that's right--the Ethiopians!

"'Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land....' Then Rabshakeh returned and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king [Ethiopia] had left Lachish. When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, 'Behold, he has come out to fight against you....'"
--II Kings 19: 6-9 (excerpts, brackets mine referencing study Bible note)

With verse 3, the emphasis is taken off the nation in question--whichever it may be--and put on everybody else. What will happen in this moment of "alas" is something that all on earth will witness. A "standard is raised" and a "trumpet is blown." The prophets have used these phrases as indicators of the work of God to come. A standard is not just a signal but a badge of office or authority. [] All will see and all will hear, and it will be clear by Whose authority this work will be done (even if we aren't clear for whom it is being done!)


Isaiah becomes figurative, again, as we look at the Pruner at harvest time.  ...'Til next Wednesday!

* * *

Next week:  Isaiah 18: 4 and 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).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Isaiah 17: 12-14

12 Alas, the uproar of many peoples
Who roar like the roaring of the seas,
And the rumbling of nations
Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!
13 The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters,
But He will rebuke them and they will flee far away,
And be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind,
Or like whirling dust before a gale.
14 At evening time, behold, there is terror!
Before morning they are no more.
Such will be the portion of those who plunder us
And the lot of those who pillage us.

As much as Isaiah Chapter 17 has addressed the alliance of Syria and Israel, and their impending punishment and destruction at the hands of Assyria, we must not forget that Isaiah is always delivering his words to Judah. As the chapter concludes today, we can see a shift in the prophet's emphasis as he provides some words of assurance to the nation amidst the growing power threats around it.

Again, let's review some history. Referencing II Kings 18 and 19, we recall Judah's King Hezekiah needing to confront the danger that was King Sennacherib of Assyria and his mighty army. Several cities in Judah had already fallen--not to mention, in the years preceding, Syria and Israel--to the superpower, and Jerusalem was threatened next. This is the "roar" and the "rumbling" of Assyria that Isaiah speaks of in this prophecy, years before its taking place.
"Alas," or "Woe," in the King James Version, "the uproar...." The Reformation Study Bible says that, "In ancient Near Eastern myths the sea represents chaos and death." The Assyrian army was seen as a huge tidal wave of terror, roaring, as the "mighty waters" do, and covering the land in an attempt to reestablish a new and deeper shoreline. The Assyrian army stands at the wall of Jerusalem, waiting to speak to Hezekiah, with the deafening sounds of its victories reverberating.

"The cords of death encompassed me,
And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me."

--Psalm 18:14
What Assyria would have seen as a strength--the incredible numbers in its army; the amassing of territory for its empire; the sheer power of its forces; its reputation--is marked as merely a loud racket to be silenced by God. Look how many times either 'roar' or 'rumbling' is used in verses 12 and 13! Assyria talks big. Talks loud. Bully! Then, we hit the middle of verse 13: "BUT...." (caps mine)

"...But woe to them (Isa. 17:12), for he shall rebuke them, that is, God shall, one whom they little think of, have no regard to, stand in no awe of; he shall give them a check with an invisible hand, and then they shall flee afar off. Sennacherib, and Rabshakeh [cupbearer to Sennacherib], and the remains of their forces, shall run away in a fright...."
--Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible (brackets mine)

There is so much history covered through prophecy in Chapter 17. I am sure, if I were from Jerusalem, listening to Isaiah, that I would have left his speech with more questioning of events than understanding the encouragement that would be there for me down the road. Syria and Israel and big chunks of Judah would be gone in the near future. The threat would literally stand at the wall of my city. But, God's rebuke would send the enemy afloat in the wind. Over the course of this chapter, we have seen multiple references to the harvest, what remains after the whirlwind of destruction that Assyria brings. How fitting for Isaiah to then call the harvester 'chaff', which is "the refuse of winnowed corn." (Easton's Bible Dictionary)

In verse 14 lies the prophecy that we see fulfilled in II Kings 19, with Hezekiah hearing further word from God through Isaiah and praying for His intervention on behalf of Jerusalem: "At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more." That's the way it went down!

"Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, 'He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,' declares the Lord. 'For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.'"

Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead."
--II Kings 19: 32-35

"Such will be the portion of those who plunder us
And the lot of those who pillage us."
--Verse 14b

Capturing the spoil was a huge part of what plundering the enemy was all about. For the Assyrians, adding Jerusalem to its empire would have meant adding a very fine jewel to an already massive portion. But Assyria's lot was not under their own control, contrary to their own belief. God was not their portion, and He had a different destiny in mind. For Judah, knowing that the Lord was their portion should have spoken abundantly to them, especially given the pillaging around them. For the time being, under God's provision and King Hezekiah's obedience to the Lord, Jerusalem would be saved.

The wind blows at His command--to sweep away the enemies of His people in a mighty gale or to bend His people's boughs to know His presence, love, mercy and grace. Can't help but bring forth these lyrics in closing our text, here. When we know we are His portion, we see jealousy in a whole new way.
"He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane. 
I am the tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy....

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."

--lyrics from "How He Loves," by John Mark McMillan

"Message to Ethiopia," We begin Chapter 18. ...'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week:  Isaiah 18:1-3
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).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Isaiah 17: 10 and 11

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
And have not remembered the rock of your refuge.
Therefore you plant delightful plants
And set them with vine slips of a strange god.
11 In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in,
And in the morning you bring your seed to blossom;
But the harvest will be a heap
In a day of sickliness and incurable pain.

Only two verses today? Yes, only two verses from Isaiah 17, but they have such deep roots--can't stay away from the pun--that they're worth exploring in depth. Plus, the Bible is full of gardening metaphors, and Isaiah has a strong one going. But, before we delve into that, he gets us to the crux of the matter and the whole chapter:

"For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
And have not remembered the rock of your refuge."

--vs. 10

Isaiah might have slipped an "O, Israel" in there after the 'you', or an "O, Jacob" or an "O, Jeshurun." It is no wonder Deuteronomy 32 appears in the cross-references. How about an "O, that My People would remember the song of My servant, Moses"?

"'But Jeshurun [Israel] grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—

Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.

They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.

You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth....'"
--Deuteronomy 32: 15-18

The prophesy that Isaiah was laying down was one that Israel had already seen fulfilled in its history, and would now see again. "'The Rock! His work is perfect...," Moses' song sings in verse 4, yet the people had given themselves over to using rock for making altars and carving rock to making other gods. The God who was mighty to save them from their slavery in Egypt, who granted them the Law, and extended His grace time and again, was exhausted from their bodies, not exalted from their hearts.
"I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted...."
--Lyrics from "I Will Call Upon the Lord" by Petra

No, they would not be protected from their enemies, save but a remnant. For though the Lord liveth, He demandeth obedience. He needed to show His people, again, that He and He alone was the Lord, the God of Israel:

"'How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the Lord had given them up?....'"

--Deuteronomy 32:30

Therefore, because of their state of perpetual, purposeful forgetfulness, the people go their own way and "plant delightful plants." (Isaiah 17: 10) On the surface, besides, seemingly, being a non sequitur, planting plants doesn't sound like sinful behavior. Make sure you read the full sentence--"...and set them with vine slips of a strange god."

'Vine slips' refers to taking a cutting from a plant in order to cause it to grow roots, thus making a new plant. (See picture above) Again, in and of itself, not a bad thing. (Some basil cuttings you buy from the farmstand or nursery will sprout easily in a kitchen window.) But the visual Isaiah creates is one that puts such slips with those from "a strange god." There is the God that Israel calls 'Lord, Lord' and the one (or more) that Israel serves as lord. The two will not grow together in the same pot.

In a side note, the Encyclopedia of the Bible suggests that the plants mentioned here may refer to Adonis gardens. Adonis was the "Syrian deity of vegetation which wilts under the hot summer sun." Apparently, people would plant herbs in special gardens in honor of Adonis, only to see them wilt and die in the summer. Adonis, being a fertility god, would go through a symbolic death. His wife, the goddess Ishtar, would restore him each spring, thus renewing the cycle of life.

Regardless of which plants or which gods, that Israel took such great pains to care for its "plants"--with its fencing them in and forcing of their roots and seeds to flourish (vs. 11)--demonstrated that its interests were not with the Creator who made the plants in the first place. Jesus makes this abundantly clear in His presentation of how vines grow successfully:

"'I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing....'"
--John 15: 1-5

In this regard, a "branch" in the presence of another "vine" would also bear nothing. Isaiah brings today's passage to a close with the same thought: "...the harvest will be a heap...." (vs. 11)

"You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice,
You have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors,

Therefore a tumult will arise among your people,
And all your fortresses will be destroyed...."

--Hosea 10: 13 and 14a

There is nothing that feels quite as bad as continuing to make the same mistake over and over and over again. The pain is exquisite. Yet, even with Isaiah giving warning and the servant of His people having already given them a life song to sing and remember their history by, Israel will reap a heap.
"'For they are a nation lacking in counsel,
And there is no understanding in them.

Would that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would discern their future!....'"
--Deuteronomy 32: 28 and 29

Finishing up Chapter 17. ...'Til next Wednesday!

* * *

Next week:  Isaiah 17: 12-14
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).