“And the yoke will be broken because of fatness”
Context: Isaiah, who prophesied during the reigns of four kings of Judah—Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1), was sent to prophesy to the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Isaiah's message was salvation; however, Isaiah reminded the people that salvation requires judgment. Though the Assyrians would defeat the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and Babylon will one day defeat the armies of Judah, God promises He will redeem His people and bring the exiled nation back home again. Amidst Isaiah's prophecies, he also tells of a Servant who will bear the sins of the people and reconcile all humanity to the Lord. Specifically, Is. 9-11 identifies this Redeemer as God Himself. Therefore, we can rest assured that Isaiah’s message is not only a message for the past; we can find hope in his message as well.
Chapter 10 (as well as the previous three chapters) deals specifically with Israel's enemy, Assyria. Though a wicked nation, God used them to bring judgment against Israel for her unfaithfulness. God used Assyria’s evil heart to overthrow Israel; however, he did not cause their evil. Assyria was following their own will, seeking their own glory and power. Though He used their evil for His purposes, He would undoubtedly also deal with their pride-filled hearts (10:12-15). They may have thought it was by their hands they were successful in defeating Israel; however, God would show them it was only because He allowed it. He would certainly deal with their "haughtiness."
And what would be their destiny? Leanness. (10:16, 19). They might have thought they were strong and powerful; they would soon find out how small they truly were. Yes, this is the same Hebrew word used in Psalm 106. Once again we see the same principle – when we seek our selfish desires and do not submit to God's authority and power, we waste away. Our souls become lean when we go against God. That is the context with which we read Isaiah’s message to Israel that God would cause them to grow fat (10:27).
Primary Message: Even though a just God must deal with sin, He proves Himself, again and again, to be a compassionate, faithful God. God promised His people hope and not hope in a God who just barely saves, or who gives “just enough” mercy.
God promised that He would use Assyria to judge the Kingdom of Judah as well. Yet, He also offered hope. He reminds His people through Isaiah that He is still a God of covenant – "for in a very little while My indignation against you will be spent (finished, accomplished) and My anger will be directed to their (Assyria’s) destruction" (10:25). Though God judges our sin, He is forever a God of mercy and forgiveness; He has not forgotten His promises. He will always return to those who return to Him.
God told Isaiah that Judah's king should not trust Assyria and build an alliance with them; unfortunately, Ahaz did not listen. God could have turned His back on Judah for their unfaithfulness; however, He did not. Even though Judah did not place their confidence in Him but instead looked to their enemy for safety, God offered them hope. And not only the hope of redemption, but also the hope of growth – "So it will be in that day, that his burden will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of fatness" (10:27).
If the people return to God, He promised “shemen” - richness, fruitfulness, the oil of anointing; He offers fatness!
Application: Whenever we offer an area of our heart that we have attempted to hide from Him, we don’t have to worry that He will relegate us to a corner. He never offers smallness or leanness. He offers more; he offers a greater anointing, a greater measure of fruitfulness. He offers to mature us to a level where we become so fat that the chains of bondage break off our souls.
At one time or another, we have realized that some portion of our heart was discounting God's commands and asserting our will over His. All too often, whenever He begins to speak to us about that part of our heart, we hear His word as a rebuke.
But if we consider the mercy of our Lord, maybe we should not. Perhaps, instead of a rebuke for our failure, we should hear His call as an invitation to grow fat (spiritually speaking, of course).
Maybe we need to begin hearing God's call to grow spiritually as His declaration that we are living in too small a place for the purpose He has for our life. If we have outgrown the place we once settled for, spiritually speaking, God will reveal to us, little by little, our need to move out of the small place we’ve settled for and take possession of a larger place. Possibly, rather than avoiding God's voice because we feel rebuked, we should eagerly accept His call as an invitation to grow fat with Him.
When we assert our will above God's, we live with a yoke around our necks. If He begins to speak to us about the captivity resulting from this yoke, we would be blessed to listen. He may not be rebuking us; He may be inviting us to grow so fat in Him that the yoke is broken.
Assyria did not overtake the Kingdom of Judah; however, the people did not remain faithful to God. Years later, the Babylonians, who destroyed the Assyrians (they did indeed grown lean and waste away), defeated Judah and took the country captive. Ever faithful, the Lord continued to speak through the Prophet Isaiah concerning Israel's future redemption and hope of restoration –
"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left" (v. 2, 3).
In ancient times, when a family outgrew their home, they did not go shopping for a new tent. Instead, they added to the length of the fabric, picked up the stakes which held their tent to the ground, and moved them out further – they enlarged their tent. In these two verses above, the Lord promised the growth that would take place because of His promised redemption.
Even when we know we have disobeyed God in a particular area of our life, we can remain hopeful. If we release our captive heart to Him for redemption, we need not feel ashamed that we have not matured to the level we desired. We don’t have to hear the Holy Spirit’s conviction as a rebuke that says we are so little, inadequate, or not good enough; that is not the voice of the Lord. Hear the voice of God that would graciously call us out of our small place and into the fullness of His promises. The hope we have because of God’s faithfulness is that when we offer any part of our heart to Him for redemption, it is in reply to His invitation to spread out, enlarge and grow fat.
Don't be too ashamed to admit your sin. The Holy Spirit is leading you to freedom, for God never reveals anything to us to bring us harm; He only reveals to heal. He has so much for us that we can only experience through His freedom.
Shame is not the plan of God; redemption is His plan. The Savior is calling us out of our small places into a land overflowing with more. The Lord is calling us all out of the small, leanness of seeking our own way to the large, fat place of sanctification. It remains our choice. But never forget, He remains faithful to save. He remains faithful to take our leanness and turn it into more and more growth and maturity!
Lord, thank you for your promises. Thank you that we can experience the hope that you will not only redeem when we turn back to you, but that you will enlarge us as well. Each time we have the courage to ask you to take a part of our hearts that is not fully surrendered to you and make it yours, you will never relegate us to a lesser place in you. When we surrender our hearts to you, you will only give us more of you. You will make us fatter and fatter until the chains of bondage just break off our necks. How we love you! You are the God of abundance and your desire is that none of your children choose to live in a place of leanness. You offer us spiritual fatness; you offer abundance. May we never settle for anything but all of you! May we know you well enough to trust you, may we always remember your faithfulness, may we never settle for "just enough" of You. May we always be willing to offer our whole heart to you for sanctification, daily, always. May we never stop growing as we come better representations of the glory of the Father who loves us so well. Thank you for your promises and thank you for being faithful to them. Help us to remain faithful to you and to never, ever, ever stop growing until we stand before you at the day of the Lord wholly like you. Amen.
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. Is. 54:11,12
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.