Suffering until the pouring out of the Spirit

Isaiah Bible Background

10.05.2015 Old Testament: Isa 32.12–15

To read the Bible in a year, read Isaiah 31–33 on October 5, In the year of our Lord 2015

By Don Ruhl

Why do people expect good things to happen when they turn from the Lord, or claim to follow Him, but are complacent? Through Isaiah, the Lord showed what happens when His people become complacent,

People shall mourn upon their breasts
For the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.
On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers,
Yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city;
Because the palaces will be forsaken,
The bustling city will be deserted.
The forts and towers will become lairs forever,
A joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks—
(Isaiah 32.12–14) 

What was once a joyful place became a depressing place. However, the prophet also pictured what would happen when the Lord poured out His Spirit (conditioned, of course, upon their repentance),

Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field is counted as a forest.
(Isaiah 32.15)

Notice the difference between verse 15 and verses 12–14! Whatever the Lord’s people do, the Earth reacts to it. Whether this is symbolic or literal is beside the point for the present. Just look and see that things do not go well when people wander from the Lord, but things go better when they follow Him. The words of Isaiah here remind me of Psalm 84.5–7,

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.
(Psalm 84.5–7) 

Please do not misinterpret these passages as meaning that all problems go away and that nothing but good happens. Just see the general idea that when we follow the Lord, things go better overall, and when we forsake Him, things in general do not go well.

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