Summary: Exposition of Isaiah 29
Back from the Brink
Beware of Tripping vs. 1-8
Beware of Blindspots vs. 9-16
Restored to Blessings vs. 17-24
In 1991 Jimmy Conors was playing his final US Open
He was 39 years old and way past his prime
It didn’t start out well with him almost losing his opening match to Patrick McEnroe
He was down two sets and match point but pulled off a victory
It was the fourth round match that became famous
He played Aaron Krickstein and the match lasted five sets where several times Conors was at the brink of losing
Each time he would come back with an amazing play
Eventually he won the match and became inspiration for many
I remember once time I was standing in line at El Rancho market in Santa Ynez
And none other than Jimmy Connors was standing in front of me
I was surprised at how someone who was larger than life was so small
Israel is at the brink of disaster
Through their pride and blindness they are almost at the point of no return
But God in his mercy shows them, and us, how he is going to bring them back from the brink
Maybe you’re sitting here today teetering on the brink of failure
You are doing your best to maintain an appearance of having it together
But if one thing was to go wrong it would all come crumbling down
In these times we need to ask God to show us where in our lives he is working
Read Isaiah 29:1-5
The second of seven woes expands on the idea that God will judge Judah.
Someone asked what I was teaching on for the advent season
I told them the Seven Woes of Isaiah
They looked at me like "Wow! Merry Xmas."
While there may be seven woes there are many more words of encouragement and blessing
This new lament draws attention to the dire consequence of Judah’s unwillingness to trust God.
What a warning we need to hear
An enemy nation and God will siege the city, but then suddenly God will destroy Jerusalem’s enemies.
Although Assyria is not mentioned, the surprising crushing of Jerusalem’s enemies “in an instant” was fulfilled a short time later when God struck down 185,000 Assyrian troops in one night
So we see two warnings today followed by a restoration
Beware of Tripping vs. 1-8
The first warning we see is beware of being tripped up by pride.
Woe to Ariel: The name Ariel means Lion of God, and in this passage is used as a symbolic reference to Jerusalem (the city where David dwelt).
The only place where Ariel is used as a name for Jerusalem is in this chapter of Isaiah,
When we consider the way Ariel is used in these verses, and the context as a whole, the idea behind calling Jerusalem Lion of God is probably sarcastic.
Richard the Lion Heart
During the Middle Ages Christians conducted three crusades against the Muslims in Israel
Each were utter failures and great amount of lives were lost in the process
In the Third Crusade King Richard of England led it
He proved to be a vary effective military commander, so much that they named him King Richard the Lion Hearted
When he left England for the crusade he left his brother John in charge of the throne
To this day there hasn’t been a more corrupt and vile king than John
No royal has named their son John since
It was under John’s rule that the Story of Robinhood came out
Well when King Richard returned from the Crusade John didn’t want to abdicate the throne
So Richard had to fight castle by castle to win the country back
Jesus will be known as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, He will return and rule
Jerusalem had fooled itself into thinking it was the Lion
The repetition of the name (four times in two verses), and the context of God’s judgment against Jerusalem, suggest the idea that Jerusalem may have thought of herself as the Lion of God, but God didn’t share that lofty opinion of the city.
It may be that the people of Jerusalem had taken to calling themselves by the name Ariel, to both express and strengthen their confidence.
The feeling in Isaiah 29:1 is that Jerusalem is proud, resting on its spiritual heritage instead of its present reality, and living for present pleasures without concern for God
Prov 29:23 One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Vs. 2 Yet I will distress Ariel:
Jerusalem may have this high opinion of itself, but it is not out of the reach of God’s hand of judgment.
Vs. 4 and you will be brought low, from the dust your speech will be bowed down