28 In the year of the death of king Ahaz there was this oracle: 29 You should not rejoice, all you Philistines, that the rod that struck you is broken, because a viper will come forth from the corpse of that snake, and its fruit is a striking serpent. 30 And a firstborn of a poor man might eat comfortably, and a needy one might lie down in security; but I will cause your parent to die in famine, and it will kill your remnant. 31 Wail, gate! Cry, city! Melt, Philistia, all of you! Because smoke is coming from the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks. 32 And how will one respond to those spreading bad news about this nation? That Yahveh has founded Zion, and the needy of his people will take refuge in him.
the swing of the pendulum
Ahaz was not a righteous man. He repeatedly caused trouble for Isaiah, and refused to heed his warnings. But he was a king of Judah, and the LORD would not look kindly upon the Philistines when they rejoiced over his death. The armies coming will be so much worse.
The Philistines took the death of Ahaz to be a sign of the weakness of Yahveh. They took the opportunity to spread bad news about Judah, saying that the end of the nation was near, and plotting how they might take over. Isaiah concluded that they had gotten their prediction wrong. The future would not go their way, in spite of the present victory. Philistia would suffer for their sins.
Sometimes the pendulum swings back in our favor for a while. We should not allow those times to lull us into a false sense of security and forget our sins or our ultimate needs. The problem with Ahaz was that he had gotten just enough victories to cause him to disregard Isaiah and his words, so he felt he did not need God. His enemies, the Philistines, took his death as a sign of his God’s weakness. But, in fact, the death of Ahaz would hasten the coming of the next step in God’s plan, and that would show how strong God is.
LORD, when fortune favors us, help us to seek your favor first, and not to be blinded by the swing of the pendulum.