The introduction of this chapter (verses 2-5) to me has much to do with temple worship and work. Though this talks of the Lord’s preparations against the world at the last and final battle, the wording in verses 2 and 3 draws a parallel to temple rites and ordinances.
This is one of those passages that is layered in meaning, and this morning I am seeing two layers: a layer that references the gathering of Israel from the ends of the earth, and a layer that sets the stage for the destruction of the wicked. If there was not the higher, nobler cause of preparation for the saints and the Lord’s Second Coming, there would be no reason for destruction.
In the remainder of the chapter, Isaiah spares no expense in articulating how the destruction of Babylon will be unfolded. The end of Babylon is a sad story indeed. I think of the world in our day, and how its fate for the wicked is the same. These institutions of man and their structures that seem to us so permanent, they too can be destroyed and will be destroyed.
There is a personal note here as well, I have in my direct family tree proof of these prophecies. My grandparents left to their families both significant tangible inheritances, but what is left of those that never made covenants with God? There is nothing there. It is all spent and lost. Of those that did make covenants, there remains a significant land inheritance, and other spiritual blessings, that continue in our family line.
I am wanting to move on, but the Lord’s prophet has taken time to spell out this destruction that will come upon the world. I am to understand it.
Alma 42 addresses the idea of punishment from a godly perspective. Sinners are punished because of their sins. Sin often causes cruel, unfair advantage to be taken of others. So punishment is the just redistribution of consequence to its proper recipient.
There is a very violent description of families being destroyed in this chapter of Isaiah.
But the crux of the matter of pride. God is punishing the pride that exists among men. If we will allow it to be rooted out of us, then well. If we attach our identities to our pride, then we are at a loss. “…I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (vs. 11)