Summary: Our text depicts Jerusalem being sieged for destruction by the nations and yet God keeps Israel safe through the precarious predicament.
JERUSALEM'S SIEGE AND ISRAEL'S SAFETY
We come to the second part of the last section, namely to chapters 12-14. [That this section is to be regarded as a parallel to the preceding section appears from the similar pronouncement, "The burden of the Word of the LORD." The similarity extends further for both oracles indicate upon whom the burden is to be laid: 9:1 "upon the land of Hadrach" and 12:1 "upon Israel."] Chapters 9-11 basically deal with events concerning Christ's first coming and chapters 12-14 deal with the period involving His second advent or His return to defeat Israel's enemies and establish His earthly kingdom.
Our text for tonight depicts Jerusalem being sieged for destruction by the nations and yet God keeps Israel safe through the precarious predicament (CIT). In the end times the allied armies of anti-Christian world powers will besiege Jerusalem. The repeated use of the term "in that day" seems to synchronize the event with "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:4-7) and Daniel's "time of trouble" (Daniel 12:1). Although it will be a time of unspeakable anguish for Israel, the climax of all their sufferings and tribulation down through the centuries, YHWH will strengthen them in their great need and Israel will turn to Him who kept them safe and be saved through placing their faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
There are four points:
I. The Siege of Jerusalem, 12:1-3
II. Struck with Confusion or Supported with Strength, 4-5.
III. Divine Deliverance, 12:6-7
IV. Divine Strength and Destruction, 12:8-9
I. THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM, 12:1-3
In verse 1 informs us that this oracle of God is to fall upon the nation of Israel. "The burden of the Word of the LORD upon Israel. (Thus) declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of a man within him."
The second predictive burden or oracle is accentuated and emphasized that it is the message of the Creator's and Sustainor's authority. First, by the use of the term burden (massa') indicating the freight weight of the message. It is a heavy-weight prophecy. Second, by the phrase Word of the LORD stating that it is a Word belonging to YHWH. The third emphasis is the pronouncement "declares the LORD," the usual wording for prophetic utterances (Num. 24:3 and 2 Sam. 23:1). The fourth is a threefold sublime description of the Omnipotent Creator. Because of this prophetic oracle's amazing predictions it needed to be strongly buttressed with divine authority.
The fourth statement of divine authority is portrayed with three participles of God's creative genius and power. The first is He "who stretches out the heavens." The phrase shows His omnipotent sway over the celestial sphere and the ease with which He lays out the heavens as a man might stretch a table cloth.
The second He "lays the foundation of the earth," demonstrates His absolute control over the terrestrial realm. The marvel that He has hung planets in space causes ceaseless wonder and praise to those who consider it. Physics may attempt an explanation of the heavens, but the actual laying them out is another thing completely.
The third is He "forms the spirit of a man within him." The word "forms" (yotser) implies careful shaping like that done by a potter. Science cannot see and only guesses at the spirit of man but God forms this delicate life-giving spark that animates what would otherwise be dead clay. When it is withdrawn man returns to the dust from which he came.
[The phrase "within him" shows that the individual, his makeup, and his functioning are important to God. Our Lord is not like a deistic god, who would create a universe and then leave it to work itself out.]
If we look above us, we see the heavens God created. If we look beneath us we see the earth that He founded, and if we look within us we find the spirit that formed us. The God of creation is the God who cares for us. [Wiersbe, Bible Exposition Com. OT Vol. 2. 471]
All three participles indicate continuous acts going on progressively in the present. Were God for a moment to cease His creative sustaining activity, all of visible and invisible creation would blaze back into ex-nihilo.
He that is performing works of such magnitude will see to it that these promises will be fulfilled. God is able to preform what He predicts.
Having established God's supremacy thought His unparalleled creative achievements the prophet goes on in verse 2 to look at other mighty works God will perform that will also challenge the man's small faith. "Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that cause reeling to all the peoples around when Judah is besieged as well as Jerusalem."