Summary: God here contrasts the future of those who forsake Him with those that are faithful to Him. The effects of His faithful servants’ sinful condition will pass away & the blessings of YAHWEH will be theirs instead. The future for the faithful shines in bri
ISAIAH 65: 8-16
A FUTURE AND A HOPE
In the preceding verses YAHWEH declared that He always stood ready to respond to Israel, but they had scorned His invitation (65:1-2). Not only had they failed to respond, but they had provoked Him to wrath by their shameful practices (vv. 3-5) [and consequently He had pronounced judgment (vv. 6-7).] Yet even still God holds out the promise of a future and a hope for those who would become His servants (vv. 8-10). But those who persist in their evil way must be destroyed (11-12). [David Garland; Isaiah, Bible Study Com., p.113]
Thus God contrasts the future of those who forsake Him with those that are faithful to Him. The effects of His faithful servants’ sinful condition will pass away and the blessings of YAHWEH will be theirs instead. The future for the faithful shines in brilliant splendor against the dark and dismal back drop of what awaits the apostates. For God has promised to give His faithful servants a future and a hope (CIM).
I. PROMISED DELIVERANCE, 8-10.
II. CONSEQUENCES DECLARED, 11-12.
III. CONTRASTED DESTINIES, 13-16.
In verse 8 God begins to assure the faithful remnant that those who love Him will be delivered. Thus says the Lord, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is blessing in it,’ So I will act on behalf of My servants in order not to destroy all of them.
The basic point is that God will not destroy the good with the bad. Though judgment was addressed to the whole nation (6-7), it will not be indiscriminate. Just because the bad grapes will be destroyed does not mean the good grapes would be also. The good grapes, the faithful remnant (Mt. 13:36-43), will be culled out and spared (Isa. 27:2-6).
The original significance of "blessing" is "giving power to increase." Thus these grapes have life-giving properties in them. Through these blessed ones God will be able to give new life to others.
To be a part of this remnant is not simply to return from Babylonian captivity. The remnant are those who are truly servants of God, those who believe His promises enough to obey His word. [Oswalt, NIC Isaiah 40-66, 646].
Verse 9 promises to bless the spiritual descendants of the faithful life-giving remnant. "I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, and My servants will dwell there.
God will bring forth new life from His faithful people. These will be given the right to possess God’s high places (My mountains; Isa. 14:25; Ezek. 36:1, 8; 38:8; Hab. 3:17-18).
What a blessing it is to possess God’s promises and walk upon His high places. It is of greater worth than the ownership of any earthly thing. The empowering of God’s chosen enables them to respond to Him as His servants.
Another encouraging promise is made in verse 10. "Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, and the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for My people who seek Me.
The fertile Mediterranean coastal plain of Sharon, south of Mount Carmel, is excellent land for agriculture and represents the extent of the westward inheritance first given by Moses. The eastern valley of Achor west of Jericho would represent the easterly extent of the Holy land. Though barren it would become a resting place for herds (Hosea 2:15). The whole country would be fruitful. God promises to revive, restore, and improve the dwelling place of those who have sought Him.
II. CONSEQUENCES DECLARED, 11-12.
These verses describe how the majority of Israel lived. Verse 11 depicts those who rebelled against God and His ways. "But you who forsake the Lord, who forget My holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune, and who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny,
The opposite of seeking the Lord is forsaking the LORD. They forgot God’s holy mountain where His house was (Isa. 11:9). They abandoned pure worship that covenant obedience demands, and even worse have gone seeking the blessings of other gods. Fortune and Destiny were names of gods Israel worshiped in her attempts to know and manipulate the future. They were the pagan gods of fortune (luck, gad) and fate (meni). Food and drink were set before those idols in an effort to please them. [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 1119]
In verse12 God announces what He will do to those who so abandon Him. I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will bow down to the slaughter. Because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear. And you did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight."