The Siege of Jerusalem
29 Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David encamped!
Add year to year;
let the feasts run their round.
Yet I will distress Ariel,
and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
and she shall be to me like an Ariel.
And I will encamp against you all around,
and will besiege you with towers
and I will raise siegeworks against you.
And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak,
and from the dust your speech will be bowed down;
your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
and from the dust your speech shall whisper.
But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,
you will be visited by the LORD of hosts
with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating,
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking,
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion.
Astonish yourselves and be astonished;
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not with wine;
stagger, but not with strong drink!
For the LORD has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep,
and has closed your eyes (the prophets),
and covered your heads (the seers).
And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
For the ruthless shall come to nothing
and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.
Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
“Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale.
For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who murmur will accept instruction.”
Isaiah 29 Commentary
by Hank Workman
We’re all guilty of it from time to time. Going through the motions with anything we’ve become accustomed to doing can be a deadly careless action. It leads to complacency. Complacency leads to foolish slip ups. These irresponsible indiscretions many times have consequences.
We find this in personal relationships we take for granted, work related routines, and most definitely our spiritual walk. The numbing of our heart and actions is a slow steady process that penetrates much of our response. Due to our lax thinking and behavior it is rarely noticed. It can envelope just about everything about us.
Being the master of excuses, we justify many things. We make excuses for the reason we’re doing what we are. In our skewed thinking, our actions follow. It all makes sense to us. God however has a different opinion.
For the people in Jerusalem, their religious fervor had been overtaken by routine. Simply going through the motions they had grown disobedient. As Jesus would even state hundreds of years later quoting this passage, the people drew near with their mouth, honored Him with their lips but their hearts were far from Him. The casualty was these very hearts had grown cold.
Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Isaiah 29 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
I can remember times in my life when I was simply neglecting the spiritual wisdom of God. Like a nagging fly that kept landing on me, I swatted those thoughts out of my mind in order to continue doing what I wanted. Deep down, I knew my heart was not truly satisfied – but I chased my own desires. It’s a terrible place to be. In order to get my mind off who I truly was and what I should have been doing, I tried to fill my life to the brim with fun and engaging activities for my flesh. The end result was emptiness.
For me, that took place at the end of the day when I laid my head on my pillow. There was a stillness I could not escape. In those moments, I could no longer distract my mind with enticing options to silence God’s persistent call. I ran with all my might, but like a lion hunting his prey, the Lord chased me down. I often use this analogy with other people when I have a feeling they are wrestling with God. I will say, “When you lay your head on your pillow tonight, in the stillness, I pray God messes with you like never before.”
In Isaiah 29, we read a similar analogy.
The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized.Isaiah 29:13 GNB
Before we truly surrender to the Lord, we are living in a dream world. We give him lip service, but continue with our own desires. We continue to feed ourselves poison.
God’s people were dying a slow death, but many of them didn’t want to hear it. They filled their lives with festivals and partying to numb the conviction. They closed their ears to the warnings of true prophets, and listened to the lies of the enemy. What a horrible place to be!
My prayer for anyone who can relate is exactly what I stated above. I pray in the stillness of your life, when you can no longer distract yourself, that the God of the Universe would break you down. Many of us know what to do. The brave will follow through, giving up everything and trusting in Jesus. Where is God messing with you in the stillness? Where are you putting off what He’s placed on your heart?