Judgment on the Nations
34 Draw near, O nations, to hear,
and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.
For the LORD is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their host;
he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall,
as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree.
For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom,
upon the people I have devoted to destruction.
The LORD has a sword; it is sated with blood;
it is gorged with fat,
with the blood of lambs and goats,
with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Wild oxen shall fall with them,
and young steers with the mighty bulls.
Their land shall drink its fill of blood,
and their soil shall be gorged with fat.
For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.
But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
and the plumb line of emptiness.
Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
and all its princes shall be nothing.
Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
It shall be the haunt of jackals,
an abode for ostriches.
And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
indeed, there the night bird settles
and finds for herself a resting place.
There the owl nests and lays
and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow;
indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
each one with her mate.
Seek and read from the book of the LORD:
Not one of these shall be missing;
none shall be without her mate.
For the mouth of the LORD has commanded,
and his Spirit has gathered them.
He has cast the lot for them;
his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
they shall possess it forever;
from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.
Isaiah 34 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The stage is set.
The return of Jesus has been spoken of by Himself, the prophets of Old that there would be great hardship and absolutely horrific things within the world going on. If you want a reality check, read Matthew 24. Jesus speaks very plainly about the things to come. These things will be the worst our human history have ever witnessed or experienced. John, through his vision in Revelation, speaks of things on a destructive level where nothing is left untouched. It will effect the ecological, economic, cosmic and human level like nothing ever witnessed.
And so it is no wonder that Isaiah pleads with the nations to repent. The nations across this globe will be hit and hit hard.
What strikes me from these thoughts is simply Isaiah’s heart here. I read this as mourning. It is the dire warning of things to come and how instead of resting in the thought of “Yeah, they are getting exactly what they deserve” it is on the side of mercy. Truly this thought translates even to Israel’s enemies whom Isaiah could have taken such a stance. Instead it was a pleading for repentance. It’s a call to “Wake Up!” It’s really for God’s mercy to supersede the feeling of our own frustration.
These thoughts are convicting. Just yesterday after my prayer time out of nowhere someone came to mind who has completely fallen off the map spiritually. They are making choices that are affecting absolutely everything about their life. They’ve stopped going to church. They’re not leading their family. One of their children has begun questioning even the validity of God Himself. They are floundering and have absolutely zero interest in anything concerning God. If I’m honest, this ‘out of nowhere’ concern had me growing more and more angry. I found myself asking on how to pray about this individual. And those prayers did land on prayers being offered for God to do whatever it would take to get their attention.
What’s interesting is in my prayer time this morning, these feelings were right there again. And once again I found myself praying for wisdom on how to intercede. For looking at things black and white and several ‘what if’ scenarios that could be the ‘whatever it takes’ I found myself questioning if even the worst case scenarios would drive them to God. I honestly don’t know.
That fact saddens me greatly. Yes, I’m still frustrated beyond belief with this person’s choices and zero interest in following God. The ripples of his choices continue to widen in their effects. But the challenge I have from this passage are Isaiah’s opening words pleading for the nations to listen. It’s a plea for God’s mercy to give people eyes to see and ears to hear.
If we’re honest, our own personal frustration with how we intercede on others behalf can lean toward anger at times. This is not productive. Challenge yourself on how to pray for God’s mercy to be given through whatever scenario He knows best to reach them. Yes it may be the whole ‘whatever it takes’ but when our hearts are broken for these who are insanely lost, we must have the Father’s heart and plead in mercy.
Isaiah 34 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The idea of this chapter is that the Lord will conquer all who oppose Him. There is no question about it. Within the text, the language is bold and abrasive. Divine wrath will be poured out upon the nations. The theme that’s used here, especially in the opening verses, is a proclamation of “herem.” Any Hebrew would know that type of word. It means to ‘devote’ or ‘destroy.’
Old Testament scholar J. A. Thompson suggests that herem meant that in the hour of victory all that would normally be regarded as booty, including the inhabitants of the land, was to be devoted to God. Thus, every harmful thing would be burned out, and the land purified. Essentially, this is what we will see in the end times. The book of Revelation chronicles the ultimate purging of the world that will leave only God’s faithfully devoted people.
It’s a frightening and sobering reality. Outside of Christ, we are enemies of God and have no chance of a future. We only have one life! Now is the time to turn, repent, and know Jesus as Savior.