Punishment and Salvation

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Isaiah 27-29

As with many passages in the prophetic writings, here there is mingled together a description of Israel’s sin and the punishment which will result, and the salvation which will come first in the return from the exile and then in the coming of Christ.

The punishment of Leviathan may refer to the destruction of nations who oppressed Israel, and ultimately to the defeat of the beasts in Revelation representing the enemies of God’s people. “In the days to come . . . Israel shall blossom . . . and fill the whole world with fruit” (27:6). Through Israel, Christ was born and has caused the fruit of the Spirit to abound in people all over the world.

Ephraim is the main tribe of the northern kingdom which is filled with drunkenness and pride and therefore will be punished by God. They will not listen to the word of the prophet sent to teach them (28:9,10), so they will have to learn the hard way, through the enemy who speaks a foreign language.

But in the midst of the prediction of trouble, there is the promise of the Messiah, “Behold I am laying in Zion for a foundation . . . a precious cornerstone” (28:16). Ariel represents Jerusalem whose sin is that “This people draw near with their mouth . . . while their hearts are far from me” (29:13). Let us be sure we draw near to God with our hearts.

PRAYER

Father, help us to learn from the mistakes of your Old Testament people that we may serve you aright. Amen.