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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Isaiah 2

 

 

Verses 1-22

Isaiah 2:1-2. The word that Isaiah the son of Amos saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

What grand hopes are kindled in our bosoms by words like these. The church has always been as a city set on a hill that cannot be hid, but still she has not been known in all parts of the world, and she has never been known with that universal eminence which attaches to the things of this world — the things of pomp and show. But the day shall come when she shall be the highest of the high. Her mountain shall be established “on the tops of the mountains,” — when she shall be best known of all the known, and shall become what she was always meant to be — the metropolis of the whole world, the center to which all kindreds shall flow. Not the Jews alone shall then possess the oracles of God, but all nations shall flow unto it.

Isaiah 2:3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

In these happy days which have, in a measure, begun, but which in their fullness have not yet dawned upon us, the Spirit of the Lord will work in the hearts of multitudes of men a desire after God. They will be willing to worship him: they will say, “Let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah”: they will be anxious to learn what he would teach. This shall be the reason why they go, — “He will teach us of his ways.” They shall not only wish to learn, but be quick to practice: “and we will walk in his paths.” Sometimes we have to complain of the masses of mankind forsaking the worship of God altogether; and too often those that together with some inferior motive, — not that they may be taught of God; and even some that are, in a manner, taught, are slow to obey. The Lord teaches them by his ministers but they do not walk in his paths. Blessed days when all this shall be reversed, and the multitudes shall flock to the church and to the Christ!

Isaiah 2:4. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

They shall not save their weapons for future use, or believe in the theory that the best way to preserve peace is to be prepared for war; but they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and turn their spears into pruninghooks. The spirit which created war shall be conquered. “Whence wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence even of your lusts?” When lust and envy and hatred shall be dethroned and the spirit of Christ shall be dominant over the world, then shall they learn war no more. “O happy day! O long-expected day begin!” Let each one of us labour mightily according as the Spirit worketh in us to bring about a consummation so devoutly to be wished.

Isaiah 2:5. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

The Jew shall come. Long rejecting the Messiah, yet shall he with the Gentile, and walk in the light of Jehovah. Now the theme changes. We are led to see why it is that a happy state of things does not obtain at this moment, and did not obtain in the land of Judah. Sin — sin is the cause of the mischief — idolatry — the setting up of something in the place of God.

Isaiah 2:6. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

The nations then had their soothsayers and fortune-tellers, and the people of God ought not so to have degraded themselves, but they did, and therefore they provoked him, and they sought out foreigners and entered into league with them, whereas the Lord had bidden them be a people separate unto himself. It always goes ill with those who profess to be God’s people when they forget their separated character and join with the world.

Isaiah 2:7-8. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: Their land also is full of idols;

How these things generally go together. If a nation prospers and gets wealthy, it is so apt to seek for itself external worship of a gaudy kind. It must then have its ritualism and its idols, for if men have their gold and have their chariots, the simple worship of the unseen God seems to be beneath the dignity of their taste.

Isaiah 2:8-9. They worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

Mark the indignant spirit of the prophet, as if he had been an Elias, or had the mind of a John Knox of later days. It seemed as if he could not ask God to forgive such a stupendous folly as the setting up visible objects of worship, and the turning away from the true invisible God. O idolatry, what an accursed sin thou art, and how rampant art thou in this land at this day!

Isaiah 2:10-12. Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Whatever God does or does not do, there is one role of his procedure from which he never deviates, namely, to cast down the proud and those who boast themselves, from their high places. He condescends to the humble, and he hath a tender eye to the contrite, but wherever man, the creature, dares to think himself great, God will bare his arm to overthrow him, or puff at him — for a puff will do it — and he shall pass away.

Isaiah 2:13-16. And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

No matter what it is that man sets up, however good or great, if he dares to bring it into competition with God, God’s hand is against him, and he will break it in pieces. Whenever God comes out of his secret place this is always the end of it. He came against Babylon and against Nineveh. Ay, ask the traveler who has wonderingly descended into those vast mounds, “Where are those mighty monarchies now?” Where is the power of Sennacherib and where the might of Nebuchadnezzar? They have gone. The dust is their sole monument. Turn ye, in later days to the great power of Rome, and as one walks through Some, that vast mausoleum of an empire, where one treads, at every step, upon an empire’s dust — what think ye but that God has broken the iron kingdom, and made what seemed to be an omnipotent power to pass away from off the face of the earth?

Woe unto all that is great and all that is high and all that exalts itself above God. Whether a temporal power, or a spiritual, it shall pass away like a dream of the night, or a vision of the air, for the Lord is, and all else is nothing.

Isaiah 2:17-20. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted is that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;

The worshipper of idols shall be ashamed of them. The precious metal shall not save them — the work of art for which so many plead. “It is true the thing is defiling and idolatrous,” say come, “but look at the skill, the taste, the handicraft, the precious metal.” When God makes bare his arm, they shall fling even gold and silver to the moles and to the bats.

Isaiah 2:21-22. To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?”

What a rebuke this is to kingcraft and to priestcraft especially. “Wherein is he to be accounted of?” Ye may lay what hands ye will on him, and ye may gird him with what robes ye please, and ye may pour upon him your anointing oil and your sacred chrisms; but what is he, after all, but a man whose breath is in his nostrils? Cease ye from him, “for wherein is he to be accounted of?”


Verses 6-22

Isaiah 2:6. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

It was God’s command that they should keep themselves separate, and worship him only; but, in the reign of this man Ahaz, they began to practice all the foul arts of the nations round about them. They had “soothsayers like the Philistines,” — men who pretended to divine future events from the flights of birds, or from the entrails of victims, and a thousand other things; they went into witchcraft, and the unhallowed arts of the heathen.

Isaiah 2:7-9. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.

The poor men worshipped these idols, and the rich did the same. All over the country the people were bowing before some symbol or other, instead of worshipping the unseen God in spirit and in truth. Therefore the prophet foretold that something terrible would happen to them: -

Isaiah 2:10-16. Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, And upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.

These people were wealthy through the natural riches of their land, and through commerce with other nations; they were the vetaries of art according to the fashion of the times: and now God declares that, because they were proud, all their treasures should be destroyed and the things wherein they boasted should be taken away from them.

Isaiah 2:17-18. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish.

They set them up at every street corner, they put them even before the house of God itself. On every green hill, and in every grove, they worshipped with filthy rites that can scarcely be thought of without a blush; but God declared that he would sweep them all away, and so he did when he visited the land in his fierce anger.

Isaiah 2:19-22. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

Extracted from an exposition covering 2 Chronicles 28:1-5; 2 Chronicles 28:16-27 and Isaiah 2:6-22.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Isaiah 2:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/isaiah-2.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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