Saturday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Isaiah 10:5-27 (NKJV)
5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
6 “I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 “Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off not a few nations.
8 “For he says, ‘Are not my princes altogether kings?
9 ‘Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus?
10 ‘As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 ‘As I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?'”
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”
13 For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
14 “My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, and as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; And there was no one who moved his wing, nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”
15 Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will send leanness among his fat ones; And under his glory He will kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; It will burn and devour His thorns and his briers in one day.
18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19 Then the rest of the trees of his forest will be so few in number that a child may write them.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.
22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a determined end In the midst of all the land.
24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you, in the manner of Egypt. 25 “For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction.” 26 And the LORD of hosts will stir up a scourge for him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; as His rod was on the sea, so will He lift it up in the manner of Egypt.
27 It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.
So much of this text is directed toward those who oppress God’s people in their arrogance and self-confidence placed in themselves and the world. This prophecy is primarily addressing God’s enemies and His use of them and the fallen creation to achieve His good and gracious will for His people. God will use the oppressors’ own power and success to make them their own destruction in their unfettered confidence in the world and their own ability contrary to God and His divine all knowing all powerful will and word.
This prophecy allows us to calmly look upon the seeming dominance of the world and the apparent smallness of His Church as nothing more than powerful assurance that God’s will and word is being fulfilled. The remnant that is the Lord’s flock is being tended by her Shepherd Who protects and guides her from above in spite of the number of ravenous wolves that seem to beset her on every side.
The final verse in the original Hebrew concludes with “and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.” This creates an image of a people grown so fat and strong as to shake off their yoke, who have the strength to free themselves from all burdensome oppression. The glory and might of the Lord has produced this reality for His elect due to His gracious shepherding of them because of their relationship to and care by Him through His Means in spite of the world’s continuous attacks from all sides.
We pray: Heavenly Father, through the life giving faith bestowed by Your abundant grace may we ever rejoice in our relationship to You through our Redeemer Jesus Christ. That wonderful reality that allows us to ever bring before You our prayers with the precious words “Our Father.” Amen.