Isaiah 1:7-9

Isaiah 1:7-9 Your land is a desolation; your cities burned with fire. Foreigners devour your land before you; and behold, ruin, as overthrown by foreigners. And the daughter of Zion is left a booth in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. Except the Lord of Hosts had left a remnant for us, a few, we would be as Sodom; we would be as Gomorrah.

 

Verse 7: The foreigners mentioned in this verse are likely the Assyrians. They had come into Judah (southern kingdom) and destroyed their fortified cities. At the time, the Jewish people had already split into two kingdoms. Israel in the north had already fallen.  Their cities, in the south of Judah, had been set on fire and laid to waste. The devastation and destruction were complete and the people could not live in the cities. Their crops had been destroyed leaving the people without food. We live in a culture today where food is plentiful. Can you imagine the social unrest and violence if there was a severe food shortage in the United States? And you think the controversy of who got kicked off American Idol is a big deal.

Verse 8: Here the text uses examples of metaphorical and literal language to express the utter helplessness and vulnerability. Figuratively, the description of a hut in a vineyard and the shelter in a cucumber field is used. The idiomatic language of the vineyard would have hit close to home because of the love of wine in this period of history. This love of wine is noted in Isaiah 5:11. Woe to those who rise early in the morning to go after fermented drink, tarrying in the twilight while wine inflames them! No grapes equals no wine. The southern kingdom has no food and no wine. Literally, this is a besieged city. No matter how you want to look at, literally or figuratively, this place is in serious trouble.

Verse 9: The Lord of Hosts is a term that is noted throughout the Old Testament. It is a military term that communicates that God is the head of the army.

God always sets aside a group of core believers that is called the remnant. There are examples of the remnant in both the Old and New Testaments. Two examples include 2 Kings 19:31 and Romans 11:4-5. Notice, it is God who achieves and chooses this remnant. There are many examples noted throughout the Bible of God choosing a remnant. A couple of others include Isaiah 10:20-22; 11:11.

2Kings 19:31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion they that shall escape; the zeal of Jehovah of Hosts shall do this.

 

Romans 11:4-5 But what does the Divine answer say to him, “I reserved to Myself seven thousand men who did not bow a knee to Baal.” (paraphrasing  1 Kg. 19:18) So then, also in the present time a remnant according to election of grace has come into being.

 

If  God had not chosen a remnant, their destiny would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah. We all know how that turned out in Genesis 19:1-29. There was a remnant of three who came out of the total destruction of those two cities, they were Lot and his two daughters. Those three are a sordid story that is for another day.

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