Today Isaiah pronounces judgment from the Lord against several nations:
Ethiopia – Isaiah says the Ethiopians are “people terrible from the beginning and onward”, but the Lord will humble them and they will one day worship Him.
Egypt – To the nation that enslaved the Israelites, Isaiah says that the Lord will do the same to them – “And the Egyptians I will give into the hand of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them.” The Lord will also dry up the Nile River, which will wreck their economy. However, God promises to save Egypt when they cry out to Him – “for they will cry to the Lord because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them. Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the Lord and perform it. And the Lord will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the Lord, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.”
As a sign of the coming destruction upon Ethiopia and Egypt, the Lord has Isaiah walk around barefoot and stripped down like a prisoner for three years to illustrate the shame they will experience. However, the Lord says that there will be a day when Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will all be blessed by the Lord – “In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, ‘Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.’”
In the Patriarch Era, the Lord promised Abraham that all nations will be blessed through his descendants (Genesis 12:3, 18:18, and 22:18). We see that God is still working His plan to fulfill His promise, which will come through His Son Jesus Christ. When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will have the same heartbeat as His Father for all the nations to be blessed. That is why He will say to His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18). After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ to heaven, we will read a story about an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading the words of Isaiah when Philip, a disciple of Jesus, comes and explains the reading to him – “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Then the Ethiopian receives Jesus as his Savior and is baptized in the name of Christ, becoming an heir to the Kingdom of God.
Babylon, Edom and Arabia – Isaiah says that Elam and Media, the ancient names for the people of Persia, will take down Babylon and within a year Edom and Arabia will fall. Isaiah describes the terror that will fall upon Babylon when they are conquered by the Persian Empire. The same terror will fall upon those who do not trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior when He returns in glory and power, destroying all that is evil (Revelation 18).
Jerusalem – Isaiah warns Jerusalem, who falsely believes it is immune from the wrath of God, that judgment is coming. Isaiah is speaking of the day when the Lord will remove His protection from Judah and allow Babylon to overthrow Jerusalem because the people trusted in themselves instead of the Lord – “But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.” Therefore the Lord says to Jerusalem, “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death.”
The only sin that will not be atoned for is the sin of resisting the Holy Spirit by not repenting and accepting the Lord as your Savior, as Jesus Christ will later explain:
- “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29).
- “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).
Billy Graham answered the question of “what is the unpardonable sin” on billygraham.org – “The point for us is that if we have received Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit; we have accepted His witness. One study Bible explains it as follows: ‘To commit this sin one must consciously, persistently, deliberately, and maliciously reject the testimony of the Spirit to the deity and saving power of the Lord Jesus.’ If a person keeps doing that until death, there is no hope of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.
“Once again, the unpardonable sin is not some particularly grievous sin committed by a Christian before or after accepting Christ, nor is it thinking or saying something terrible about the Holy Spirit. Rather, it is deliberately resisting the Holy Spirit’s witness and invitation to turn to Jesus until death ends all opportunity.”
Shebna – The Lord says to Shebna, the prideful treasurer of Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah, that he will be judged for using his position for personal gain. The Lord is going to remove everything from him and give it to Eliakim.
Tyre – Isaiah says that this strong, wealthy city will be forgotten for a period of time but will ultimately be restored to the Lord.
The Lord is gracious and merciful. He desires for us to repent of our sins and accept Him as our Savior so that we may be restored to Him and receive salvation. Jesus Himself will later say that He will not turn anyone away who comes to Him – “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:37-40).
Tomorrow Isaiah declares judgment against the entire world, but there is hope. Keep reading. (Isaiah 18:1-23:18)