Isaiah 42:23-25

Isaiah 42:23-25

to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *

August 21, 2019 – Wednesday

Isaiah 42:23-25   NIV

23 Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come?
24 Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers?
            Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned?
            For they would not follow His ways; they did not obey His law.
25 So he poured out on them His burning anger, the violence of war.
            It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

Comments

This is an amazing chapter of Isaiah. The first nine verses are about God’s chosen servant whom He calls My servant.  The book of Matthew 12:15-21 quotes the first five verses herein where Jesus clearly states it was a prophecy about Him. Then, in Isaiah 42, verses ten through seventeen are about singing a song of praise to the Lord. Most of us are familiar with the tenth verse which begins with Sing to the Lord a new song which is also found in the first verse of Psalm 98. There are numerous songs of worship – here is one – with this title. 

I mention the above because the final section of Isaiah 42, verses eighteen through twenty-five, takes a strong turn and is given the title Israel Blind and Deaf in the NIV and like titles in other versions. The title fits as look at these two verses where plainly the people to whom Jehovah speaks through Isaiah are still spiritually blind and deaf.

18 “Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see!

20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”

Then in verse twenty-four we have a great summation of the Lord ‘s anger where those suffering

“whether in the nearer or more distant exile, are reminded that they have brought their sufferings upon themselves, and that it is Jehovah who sends them in the wrath which, as aiming at their restoration, is but another aspect of His love” (Ellicott’s Commentary).

24 Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned?
For they would not follow His ways; they did not obey His law.

Because they would not obey Him or follow His laws that they had purposely become deaf and blind

25 So He poured out on them His burning anger, the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.

Matthew Henry adds,

Alas! how many professed Christians are blind as the benighted heathen! While the Lord is well-pleased in saving sinners through the righteousness of Christ he will also glorify his justice, by punishing all proud despisers. Seeing God has poured out his wrath on his once-favoured people, because of their sins, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should be found to come short of it.

Are we as professing Christians setting ourselves up individually for God’s wrath so that we might be led back to the path of righteousness? This is a question well worth considering when we look at our own individual behavior. Have we become deaf and blind refusing to see what we need to change?

RileyD, nwJ
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)

* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.   1 Samuel 15:22