Isaiah 2:1 continues the introduction for the entire vision. This is a word-vision, a “word picture.” Language and picture belong together in Isaiah; they supplement and explain each other. Isaiah’s words describe pictures of judgment or redemption for his hearers to “see.” The setting is in “the last days” (2:2). The last days can refer to the last days of a king or of a nation, or to the coming of Messiah. They can refer to the Day of the Lord at the end of the world. In 2:1-4 the reference is to this last sense - the events of the final days before the consummation of the ages (Matt. 28:20). The “house of the LORD” means the temple in Jerusalem (2:2), but 2:11 and 17 state this reference in terms of the Lord himself being exalted. This is affirmed in 2:3: “That He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” The focus of the last days is upon the Lord, not on places, buildings, or events. It will be a time of godly instruction and lasting peace (2:4).
The people have been following all manner of destructive fads and fancies, but their only real need is the light Yahweh can give. He has entered a time of silence to reinforce this need (2:6a). Their accomplishments have become their gods (2:6b-8). The poor and the great alike have debased themselves before these idols, and (without repentance) they close themselves off from forgiveness (2:9). The Lord will judge these unrepentant idolaters and reveal his true character to Israel (2:10-11). Yahweh is specific and purposeful in judgment - the central issue is pride (2:12-18). Reinhold Niebuhr addresses sinful pride: “Christianity rightly regards itself as a religion, not so much as man’s search for God, in the process of which he may make himself God; but as a religion of revelation in which a holy and loving God is revealed to man as the source and end of all finite existence against whom the self-will of man is shattered and his pride abased.” The Lord will abase the prideful (2:12 and 20). He alone will be exalted (2:17). He is determined to eradicate idolatry from His people (2:19 and 21). There is no one among humankind worthy of honor or alliance, for only the Lord is worthy of Israel’s trust (2:22).
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org