Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
12 And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
God as the Sovereign Lord has shed abroad his glory so building up rather than tearing down is the norm. As the Parable of the Tares would indicate the problem of sin has led to a situation the husbandman shall not remove the tares all at once. Satan is the enemy who had in the stealth of night done mischief. So in periodic purging the good Lord sees to that these tares do not overrun and kill whatever is good. It is thus we need to treat the woes predicted by Isaiah against Judah and Jerusalem. As with the nation of Israel among the sea of gentile nations Sovereignty of the Lord is overall. But in the Salvation Plan of God the children of Israel deserve immediate attention before the rest. Ultimately it is His holy promise to Abraham that all families of the earth shall be blessed in him. This being the case the first does not mean any better than the rest.
Power and Wisdom of divine Will formulate each step so the resultant flux we know as human history. Only Almighty God shall know how at any point of earth time and place.It is thus we see the manner God has set modern history. The US may crow that the godless Bolshevism has been broken but the rise of Russia and Putin’s persistent hold over the US politics(and social life, be it through hacking) must reveal to any God fearing Christian that it was not accidental. God is not mocked and He catches the wily by their own stratagem. When it happens can any nation accuse God of partiality? Neither shall any man be justified in imputing partiality to Lord God. So coming back to our topic the promise of God to Abraham shall indeed bring disaster upon Judah until the cities be wasted without inhabitant and the houses without man. The same desolation facing Judah shall also be the portion of Israel and these shall also draw the gentile nations of which we read in the last book of the Bible. So partial judgment is how God deals with man and nations.
By the same token when He promises blessings on man he has to account for God’s Time. This we see in the life of Jacob who was deceitful and a rogue. Jacob may have by trickery prevailed over Esau and won his father’s blessings; but in the house of Laban he had to learn some home truths about his own nature. Leaving there more prosperous than before he had to settle account with Esau who came out of his past. His wrestling the angel of Lord earned him a new name, Israel. No more the heel catching Jacob but the prince of God. What we need remember is that God confirmed the name of Israel only later(Ge.35:10). What would have sustained Jacob to endure this slow maturing of blessings? His vision of the ladder at Bethel was vivid and it must have confirmed his trust and domineering desire that God’s blessing to Abraham must be made his own. God equipped him and helped in consolidating his faith. God equips a man of faith to a vessel of honor while who is negligent as Israel what Isaiah had to say was,”Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy..(vv.9-10).” It is a spiritual truth that explains how those who are lackadaisical with their calling shall even lose what gifts they were first entrusted with. God is not to be blamed for it. They made themselves vessels unto dishonor.
The nation of Israel is compared to a tree. What befell them and what seemed calamities were as shedding of the leaves in autumn. The sap is sent back to sleep for the winter sleep. Similarly what was about to descend upon them is not the end but keeping a holy seed for later use.
What is this holy seed but a remnant, that God shall always keep so His promise to Abraham shall be carried across through them. This is the substance thereof. We had seen in the life of Elijah also God’s way of doing things. The prophet was dispirited and ready to call it quits. He tells God, “I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts….and I, even I only am left;..”. God was not impressed. Here we are shown how God, kindly and yet firm in making the prophet place his role in proper perspective. He is only one instrument among many agencies He possess. “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.(1 Ki.19:18;Ro.11:4)
Isaiah predicts that the land may be thrown into desolation and yet one tenth, a remnant shall return.