"Isaiah 3:8-12"
August 1, 2005

C. R. Oliver

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August 1, 2005

"Isaiah 3:8-12"

There is a national principle in these verses. It is large and comprehensive though expressed in just a few words. It demands interpolation. It hovers over national politics, religion and family. It expresses the way God looks at things and why so many who seek to "speak for Him," stand speechless before its gigantic equation. Isaiah established this principle as the centerpiece for his huge discussion about the cause of the downfall of Israel.

(Because there are large numbers of prophetic voices today and many of them are stabbing endlessly into a mute effigy, one despairs of hearing. Not wishing to obfuscate the words of the true bearer of the pure word, yet unwilling to tolerate another moment committed to the diatribe of fools, glances alone constitute the response of most. Alas, there are no Isaiahs in a world willing to traverse to En Dor [I Sam. 28:7] for their lack!)
For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen,Isaiah 3:8
Prior to this principle, a long list of deprivations and inadequacies were enumerated by the prophet who stopped to establish a marker. His marker stands like a huge monument to tragedy and ruin. Isaiah continued past this marker, but still it loomed large and visible throughout his treatise. For miles in either direction, its prospect was large and its message infectious.

Many indices can be formatted using its formula, for it can be written and substituted to convey a variety of social and economic statements. Three parallels can be drawn.
  1. For Washington (governmental processes) has stumbled and the nation is fallen.
  2. For Church leadership has stumbled and the church is fallen.
  3. For Parents have stumbled and the family is fallen.
Jerusalem stood in this paradigm as the first cause of a larger effect. Jerusalem stumbled and lost its balance; its place of steady reliability was in question. (Many translations used the word "ruined," instead of stumble.)[1] Instead of a strong alarm, there came an unsteady one. Instead of resting on a solid foundation, cracks of weakness appeared. Instead of being the center for moral and spiritual direction, it signaled compromise and the willingness to admit it espoused "just one way in the midst of many ways." Jerusalem revealed the first sign of trouble ahead. Left unchecked and unquestioned, its tottering caused a nation to fall!

Although it is unnecessary to pursue the three paradigms listed above, for they are self-evident, it is important to review the words of Isaiah which were connected to his principle.
Because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord,
To provoke the eyes of His glory.
The look on their countenance witnesses against them,
And they declare their sin as Sodom;
They do not hide it.
Woe to their soul!
For they have brought evil upon themselves
. Isaiah 3:8, 9
The prophetic mantle of Isaiah still operates in absentia. Without a modern counterpart to the prophet, it is obvious that his principle operates even today. God would have certainly been unjust to treat His people one way and treat all other models differently. Especially is this true when every underlying reason for the stumble of Jerusalem is present in modern society and in its religious circles.

Again Isaiah needs no deciphering, no tryst in the Hebrew or sashay into "the real meaning of this passage --- ." When Isaiah equated a historical example as the characterizing feature, he used Sodom. Like it or not, Sodom was and is an affront to all three arenas noted above. Sodom was/is a way of life. Sodom's character invaded every aspect of society and declared its intention in every forum. Sodom was not the characterizing embodiment of the righteous, but it was for the vast majority of the inhabitants of the capital city Jerusalem and the people of Judah. This was why Isaiah penned the verses following his principle.

However, these verses are not to be left without two comments:
  1. "To provoke the eyes of His glory" is a serious matter. Lot stood provoked every day, hour and moment while in "homo land." God's glory stood affronted by what He viewed. The eyes of the Lord go to and fro about the earth in behalf of the righteous. They also go about ferreting the wicked. Tongues may utter religious concert and content, even songs may burst forth in seeming worship, but it is the "doings" which were observed. No need to intone a pulpit message here --- it is self- evident.

  2. "Woe to their soul, for they have brought[2] evil upon themselves." This verse stands to testify "they shot themselves in the foot." (A quick note to change the word "brought" to "rewarded.") It is as if there is a "built-in" element to the sin of Jerusalem and Judah. It is as if some principle of self-damning accompanies certain actions; punishment follows as a natural consequence. So it does!
The Lord exempted the righteous from this treatise.

‘Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings.'
Notice the same principle in operation: "Their doings" are juxtaposed to those "other doings."
Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him for the reward of his hands shall be given him. Isaiah 3:10, 11
There is no direct intervention here, for God declares that with the action comes the reward for that action. His only assurance is the reward is guaranteed.

The Lord must have included verse twelve as an aside, as a glimpse into His thinking and concerns for His people.
As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. Isaiah 3:12
One need only think of the current prospects for future national leadership or the incursion of CPS agencies, to gain a picture of this truth. One need only interview one public school educator to be introduced to a mega world of problems. One venture into the internet and it becomes obvious regardless of the search, whether in politics, education, economics or religion:
O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err. Isaiah 3: 12

[1] OT:3782 kashal (kaw-shal'); a primitive root; to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle); by implication, to falter, stumble, faint or fall: KJV - bereave [from the margin], cast down, be decayed, (cause to) fail, (cause, make to) fall (down, -ing), feeble, be (the) ruin (-ed, of), (be) overthrown, (cause to) stumble, X utterly, be weak. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

[2] OT:1580 gamal (gaw-mal'); a primitive root; to treat a person (well or ill), i.e. benefit or requite; by implication (of toil), to ripen, i.e. (specifically) to wean:KJV - bestow on, deal bountifully, do (good), recompense, requite, reward, ripen, + serve, mean, yield. (Biblesoft)

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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