Thursday, April 24, 2014

Isaiah 22: 22-25

22 “Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder,
When he opens no one will shut,
When he shuts no one will open.
23 “I will drive him like a peg in a firm place,
And he will become a throne of glory to his father’s house.

24 So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, 
offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from bowls to all the jars.
25 In that day,” declares the Lord of hosts, 
“the peg driven in a firm place will give way; 
it will even break off and fall, 
and the load hanging on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.” 

We finish Isaiah Chapter 22 today, as well as the story of Eliakim--the man who takes over as "prime minister," as God changes up the leadership in the ruling government of Judah. The former head of the household, Shebna, received a demotion from God, and we marked his transition to scribe last time with an exchange of earthly wardrobe.

Our last passage of the chapter opens with Eliakim receiving a "key of the house of David." (vs. 22) While not a literal key, Eliakim did earn the privileges that went with all aspects of maintaining Jerusalem, shy of being the king himself. His garments suited his position, so he would be recognized as the man with that authority. But, more importantly, here, is the greater significance of his being chosen by God to fulfill this position. The phrasing used here in verse 22 is found in another location in the Bible:

"He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this...."

--Revelation 3:7

John captures the words of Jesus in Revelation, as He speaks to the church at Philadelphia. The weightiness of the responsibility says a lot about holding this particular key. God did not hand off His city, His people, to the next one in line. This was a sovereign choice.

In verse 23, we also see the security that Eliakim will enjoy in this position. Placed as a "peg in a firm place." This would not be a tent peg hammered into sand or soft ground that could be lifted up in a short time and moved to a new place. The simile is one of stability. Verse 24 follows this up saying "they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house...." Eliakim would be responsible for the weightiest needs, the lightest needs, and all needs in between ("bowls and jars"). Shebna had the title and the robes, but he did little to show for having authority save to flaunt it. Eliakim would "become a throne of glory to his father’s house."
"He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He set the world on them."
--I Samuel 2:8

"Note, Rulers should be fathers to those that are under their government, to teach them with wisdom, rule them with love, and correct what is amiss with tenderness, to protect them and provide for them, and be solicitous about them as a man is for his own children and family. It is happy with a people when the court, the city, and the country, have no separate interests, but all centre in the same...."
--Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

As God would raise up Samuel, so he would call forth Eliakim and lead him as the head of King Hezekiah's house, and that of all Judah. And, for a time, there would be a shoring up of the leadership with its focus, again, placed on following the word of the Lord. But, Isaiah finishes the chapter on a downer, because the punishment due Judah is something that is still being hung on its neck, even if not on the peg of Eliakim. There is a time, says the Lord, when even the firmest pegs will be removed--"break off and fall." (vs. 25)

It was quite interesting to see Esther 9: 24 and 25 listed as the cross-reference verses for verse 25. This is a passage referring to the fall and death sentence of Haman, Persian King Ahasuerus' (Xerxes', in the Greek) right-hand man. Just this week, I had a conversation with my daughter over God's revenge or judgment upon a situation--how often does it happen that one sees His justice carried out on those who seemingly get away with murder. Haman was one of those guys who seemed to have figured out his king's system so well that he might have gotten away with wiping out the Jews. God's elaborate and incredibly unpredictable plan not only allowed His people to survive but also pulled the peg on any future exploits by Haman. God only knows what leaving Shebna in power might have meant for Judah.

But God's plans are always for the benefit of His people! This is a fact lost on all of us from time to time. His ways are unexplainable, unattainable, unbelievable--yet, "If God is for us, who is against us?...." (Romans 8:31)

"Our Lord Jesus, having the key of the house of David, is as a nail in a sure place, and all the glory of his father’s house hangs upon him, is derived from him, and depends upon him; even the meanest that belong to his church are welcome to him, and he is able to bear the stress of them all. That soul cannot perish, nor that concern fall to the ground, though ever so weighty, that is by faith hung upon Christ."
--Matthew Henry

Chapter 23: The Fall of Tyre. ....'Til next time!

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Next time:  Isaiah 23: 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).