Isaiah pronounces an oracle of judgment against Damascus. He treats Ephraim and Syria together as they have linked themselves in an alliance.¹ The city will be gone, and only few will be left. The land will be futile.
“In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.” (Isaiah 17:7-8)
They will realize their idols are useless when they see the God’s Angel Army. Yahweh, the God of Israel, is the true God who rules over the whole earth and shapes the history of the kingdoms.
“For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;
therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,
and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
yet the harvest will flee away
in a day of grief and incurable pain.” (Isaiah 17:10-11)
They have forgotten God who saved them. They have not remembered their God of Refuge. Every effort they put in for a harvest will go to ruin because they did not remember God.
“At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 18:7)
The powerful people and nations will bow down before God and come to the Holy City.
“In any case, the name of the Lord here is a significant theological concept. The name is a synonym for character or reputation. Why will the nations of the earth flow to Jerusalem? Because of the character of her God: righteous, but loving; all-powerful, but tender; judge, but deliverer, etc. We are all drawn to his place because there is truly none like him (40:25).”²
God, you are the only true God who created everything and saved me from my sin and death. You are the only One on whom I can and should put my trust. Every good thing in my life is because of your mercy and grace. Help me remember you every day. Help me grow in my love for you. Help me grow in obedience and faithfulness to please you and be pleased because you’re pleased. I love you, Lord.
¹John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 350.
²John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 363.