David Guzik's Commentary on the Bible
ISAIAH 4 - THE MESSIAH’S COMMUNITY
A. Judgment on the daughters of Zion and a glorious hope.
1. (Isaiah 4:1) The desperate condition of the daughters of Zion.
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.”
a. As a result of the judgments of the LORD detailed in Isaiah 3:16-26, the daughters of Zion will have few men to choose from as husbands.
b. So many men shall fall by the sword (Isaiah 3:25), that seven women would chase after one man. They would be so desperate for marriage that will not expect their husbands to provide for them at all (We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel).
c. Instead, it would be enough to simply take the name of a husband (only let us be called by your name), so that it would take away the reproach of being unmarried and childless.
i. In a broader sense, this shows that it is not good for women to be too desperate for marriage. They may marry unwisely, and for the wrong reasons. It is also bad when women do not expect their husbands to provide for the household.
2. (Isaiah 4:2) The glorious hope of the Branch of the LORD.
In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
a. In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious: the Branch of the LORD is a Messianic title, speaking of Jesus Christ.
i. This image is repeated in Isaiah 11:1 : There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. It is repeated in Jeremiah 23:5 : “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.” It is repeated in Jeremiah 33:15 : In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. It is repeated in Zechariah 3:8 : For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
ii. The ideas behind the title Branch of the LORD are those of fruitfulness and life. Jesus used the same image when He said that He was the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5).
b. In that day does not mean that the Messiah would appear when these judgments were taking place on the daughters of Zion. It means that the promise of the Messiah would be all the more beautiful and glorious to them in the midst of their suffering.
c. And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped: for the remnant preserved through judgment, the promise of the Messiah would be all the more beautiful, dear, and life-giving. Fruit would come forth from the Branch of the LORD, even as they simply trusted in the promise of the Messiah before He came.
B. Zion under the government of the Branch of the LORD.
1. (Isaiah 4:3) Holiness marks the society where the Branch of the LORD reigns.
And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy; everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
a. Shall be called holy: in the days of the sinful daughters of Zion, they were called beautiful, they were called delicate, they were called attractive, they were called fashionable, and they were called sexy. But they were not called holy.
i. “Christ’s holiness shall be both imputed and imparted unto them: he shall both expiate their sins and heal their natures, pay their debts, and give them a stock of grace and holiness, so that men shall call them a ‘holy people.’” (Trapp)
b. Everyone who is recorded: but in the days when the Branch of the LORD reigns, the distinguishing mark of all, including the daughters of Zion, is that they shall be called holy.
i. Holy does not mean “super-spiritual.” It does not mean sinless perfection. It does not mean spiritually superior and obnoxious. It means a life, a heart, a mind, and a body that is genuinely separated unto the LORD. It is a life lived apart from the thinking and heart of this world, this flesh, and the devil, and lived apart to the LORD.
2. (Isaiah 4:4-6) More characteristics of the society where the Branch of the LORD reigns.
When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
a. The Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion: when the Branch of the LORD reigns, there will be cleansing. The cleansing will not come easily; it will come by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning. But it will be worth it.
i. “Sin is the excrement of the soul, the superfluity or garbage of naughtiness, the devil’s vomit. From this abominable filth Christ hath ‘loved and washed his with his own blood, that he may make them kings and priests unto God and his Father.’” (Trapp)
ii. “He not only washeth his people from their sins, but taketh away their swinish natures, whereby they would else return to their former wallowing in the mire.” (Trapp)
b. A cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night: when the Branch of the LORD reigns, there will be the tangible presence of the LORD. Just as in the days of the Exodus, God will be as real as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22).
c. And there will be a tabernacle for shade . . . a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm: when the Branch of the LORD reigns, there will be protection from the LORD. The LORD’s people will be safe and secure, washed, and in the abiding presence of the LORD.
i. “Nothing is more necessary than that we follow our calling, and perform our duty faithfully. It belongs equally to the condition of the good and of the bad that they suffer man incoveniencies; but bad men have no refuge, no place of concealment in which they may hide themselves, and they must be utterly overwhelmed. But blessed is the condition of the godly; for although they endure heat and cold, still they have a safe refuge in God.” (Calvin)
ii. If we are really born again, we want to be washed, have the presence of the LORD, and enjoy His protection. Many people only want the LORD’s constant presence and protection. But He doesn’t grant those apart from His cleansing.
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