Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species forest mint
Today’s Passage: Isaiah 28
Okay, let’s get thorough. The prophecy of Ephraim’s captivity in Isaiah 28, which we looked at yesterday, isn’t merely about drunkenness, and it’s intended as a warning for the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah addresses the second half of his message to the “scoffers who rule this people who are in Jerusalem” (28:14). The head is rotten and the leadership is subject to judgment.
The rulers of Judah have incriminated themselves with their own words. Their crime? As they themselves put it,
We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we have made a pact.
The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by,
For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception. (28:15)
As I understand the situation, previous chapters have urged Judah not to trust in alliances with the pagan nations around them such as Assyria and Egypt. Unfortunately, that’s what has happened. Judah is taking refuge in false, deceptive promises of protection from other nations. It’s a deal with death, a handshake with the grim reaper. Do they really think Death will stay his scythe when it comes time for the harvest?
God promises the people that their covenants will be put to the test, and who endures the test will depend on where they’ve placed their loyalties. He states:
I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place. (28:18)
In the previous verse he promised to set a cornerstone in Zion, “and he who believes in it will not be disturbed” (28:17). God is speaking in architectural terms here, from measurements and levels to cornerstones. Where you place your trust, that’s your fortress–and the fortresses made out of lies will be washed away in the deluge of God’s judgment. Only righteousness will measure up.
Peter, centuries later, tells us that the “cornerstone” in Isaiah’s prophecy refers to Jesus Christ–it’s a messianic prophecy. In 1 Peter 2:4-10, Peter picks up the architecture imagery and pictures his Christian readers as the stones composing God’s house. Christ is the foundational stone, the first one to be laid, and all the other stones can only be properly placed with reference to him. And as in the case of Isaiah, where the rulers of Judah must choose whether to place their trust in foreign nations or the God who promises protection, it’s once again a matter of faith. Peter writes, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve… ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense'” (I Peter 2:7-8). Will you trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from death, lies, and evil? Or will you reject him and place your trust elsewhere? Choose wisely.