(Warning- you may want to actually follow along in your own bible. I think it would make it easier to understand.)
I really loved this chapter so I wanted to break it down and really analyze it. There is no brand new revelation that I have received from this passage, but rather a beautiful reminder of the Gospel that we all know and love portrayed with different imagery. I hope it stirs your hearts the way it did mine. Feel free to comment, discuss, question or share your favorite part of the passage. This is the one beautiful thing that we (as Christians) all have in common and it is this message that we have heard a hundred times that unites us in heart and mind.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Redemption of Israel
V1 “In that day the Lord with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.“
“In that day”– This, is an “end times” prophecy so we are talking about the return of Jesus and the ultimate destruction of Satan and all evil. We know this because the Leviathan, according to the ESV study notes, was an ancient symbol of evil. Furthermore, Satan is referred to as both a serpent and a dragon in Revelation 12:9 so we have a pretty good indication as to what Isaiah is talking about.
V2: In that day,
“A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!
3 I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it.
Lest anyone punish it,
I keep it night and day;”
So He has vanquished evil and now is rejoicing in His vineyard. In v2, we, God’s elect, his chosen remnant, are the pleasant vineyard and in that day (when Christ returns) we will truly be pleasant, the purified bride of Christ, a great city Rev 21:9-27.
I rejoice so much in verse 3. The passion and commitment in the words of the Lord concerning his people is so beautiful. I just imagine a husband saying to his wife “You are mine and my life is committed to your protection and flourishing.” The only way I can truly think to describe it is by using more scripture:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
His steadfast (unwavering, established) love never ceases- Every moment He waters his vineyard.
Great is your faithfulness (to us)- He keeps his vineyard night and day.
4 I have no wrath.
Would that I had thorns and briers to battle!
I would march against them,
I would burn them up together.
5 Or let them lay hold of my protection,
let them make peace with me,
let them make peace with me.”
No wrath- because the wrath of God was satisfied when Christ was punished for our sins on the cross and now the Lord sees righteousness when he looks at us because we have been cleansed of all rebellion against him (Romans 5:8-11). This lack of wrath could also be the complete destruction of all things evil as well. Either way there is no wrath towards his vineyard or his enemies because his enemies are gone.
The vineyard is completely free of thorns and briers! But the Lord’s passion for his vineyard is so strong that he wishes he could display his great love by defending his vineyard.
On the other hand, if at all possible, he would rather make peace with those who march against his vineyard than destroy them. You can see the earnest compassion and mercy in that he repeats the line twice “Let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.” It displays openly the Lord’s will for the earth.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
In days to come Jacob shall take root,
Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots
and fill the whole world with fruit.
7 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them?
Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain?
8 Measure by measure, by exile you contended with them;
he removed them with his fierce breath in the day of the east wind.
9 Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be atoned for,
and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:
when he makes all the stones of the altars
like chalkstones crushed to pieces,
no Asherim or incense altars will remain standing.
V6-The whole world will be filled with fruit and mankind will be returned to their state of communion with God that existed before sin entered the world. The whole earth will be like that of the Garden of Eden.
V7-Has God ever dealt with us (or Israel) as firmly as he has dealt with our enemies?
V8&9- Although the Lord allowed Israel to contend with their enemies and even go into exile, he never dealt with them as harshly as he did with their enemies. Furthermore, it was all for their own good in that it abolished idolatry from the land. Even today the Lord reproves us and allows tests to come. He disciplines us, but with our best interests in mind.
5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
We shouldn’t despise the discipline of the Lord. After all, has God ever dealt with you as harshly as he dealt with his own son, who was God himself?-NO. WE were once enemies of God himself, yet he sent his son (God himself incarnate) to become sin although he had known no sin and thus became his own enemy to defeat his enemy.
For the fortified city is solitary,
a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;
there the calf grazes;
there it lies down and strips its branches.
11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
women come and make a fire of them.
For this is a people without discernment;
therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them;
he who formed them will show them no favor.
V10&11- The fortified city here represents the world (those who did not repent and accept Christ). A life without Christ is a lonely and barren one indeed. In contrast to a branch that abides in the true vine and bears much fruit, these branches are stripped and broken and ultimately thrown into the fire (John 15).
12 In that day from the river Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt the Lord will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
After the various tribulations in those times, the Lord will collect his remnant to himself. The trumpet shall sound and we will worship the Lord for eternity!- I call that a good ending.
Let us never forget the beauty of the gospel.