Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Isaiah 10: Tools that boast

Verses 1-4 of Isaiah 10 repeat a theme that has shown up a few times already in the first part of Isaiah:  One of the hallmarks of the unrighteous is that unrighteous are not just, especially toward the poor an needy.  This thought impresses upon me a lot and causes me to reflect on the attitude of the rich toward poverty.  There is lots of talk, but there are still poor and the poor are still being exploited by the rich.  At this point I should ask myself:  where am I in this picture? 

The Lord’s warning to the people who practice this kind of injustice is pretty stern:  What are you going to do when I show up?  You won’t have me to rely on, which means that it will be worse for you that being a prisoner or being dead. 

And then, of course, this marvelous phrase:  “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”  You are still going to have to suffer the consequences, but any time you want to change your ways and come back to me, I’m there for you.

Verses 5-19 are pretty confusing at the start, but they are easier to understand as I read along.  It sounds like the Lord is explaining the way that he is working here.   He is going to use the heathen nations to punish Israel for unrighteousness.  And then when his work is completed, he will then destroy the wicked who have unwittingly done his work because they do not acknowledge him.   I love this verse especially:

15 Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.

In the end, the Lord’s work is going to get done, and it will be done with His help and involvement.  We are all but instruments in the Lord’s grand design whether we realize it or not.  The ones who please the Lord are the ones who realize that they are the tool and not the wielder. 

In the rest of the chapter we learn some interesting things about the last days.  First, there is going to be a tremendous amount of destruction.  And out of the midst of it, a few of Israel will be left:

22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.

23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.

The key to our salvation in the last days is found this very interesting verse:

27 And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

The footnotes on “anointing” take us to the topic of “Messiah” in the topical guide.  The Messiah means the “anointed one”. While the Savior is the anointed one, we too may also be anointed.  This is spoken of in the Bible and the Doctrine and Covenentants.  I will leave these quotes for the reader to study and ponder: 

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him bideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

D&C 109:80 And let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen.