Isaiah: God’s Hand Stretched Out Still

Peter Barnes: Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4

(20 January 2019)

C. S. Lewis: ‘I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.’ Four times in this section of Scripture, Isaiah says of God: ‘For all this His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still’ (9:12, 17, 21; 10:4). That image of an outstretched divine hand is used earlier to describe God’s redemption of His people – Ex.6:6; Deut.4:34. But not here in Isaiah.

1. Pride and over-confidence.

– 9:8-12. The covenant people of God will be too proud and arrogant. They are filled with a false hope that they can rebuild after any trouble. ‘We Shall Overcome’ is their bright and breezy anthem.

– Raymond Ortland cites Winston Churchill’s final volume in his history of Word War II: ‘How the great democracies triumphed, and so were able to resume the follies which had so nearly cost them their life.’ That just about sums up human history. Dale Ralph Davis: ‘The nation withers but hubris thrives.’

2. Following false leaders.

– 9:13-17. Calvin: ‘This rebuke applies not to the Israelites only but to us also.’ Matt.15:14.

3. Engaging is unloving divisions.

– 9:18-21. Verse 20 looks like cannibalism, but it is probably a metaphorical way of referring to Israel’s fighting itself, and then fights Judah. It is a long way from the new commandment.

4. Oppressing the weak.

– 10:1-4; see Ex.23:6-9. Judgment in Rom.2:5.