6 You will be punished by Yahveh of armies with thunder and earthquake and great sound, storm wind and hurricane and a flame of a devouring fire. 7 And the accumulation of all the nations who fight against Ariel, all those who fight her and her stronghold, and those who inflict her will be like a dream, a night time vision. 8 And it will be like when the hungry person dreams—see him eating! Then he wakes up and his insides are empty. Or like when the thirsty person dreams—see him drinking! And he wakes up and see him parched, and his insides are longing for water. So will be the accumulation of all the nations who fight against Mount Zion. 9 Be incredulous and be amazed! Blind yourselves and be blinded! They are drunk but it is not wine; they stagger but it is not strong drink.
judgment from the other side
Isaiah’s audience had heard his ranting so much that they had tuned him out. They did not take his words seriously any more than their own nightmares. They might be frightened by a bad dream, but then when they woke up and everything was OK, the dream would be quickly forgotten. Likewise, they had learned to pretty much ignore Isaiah’s words. They were scary sometimes, but they would not amount to anything.
So, Isaiah tells the people what is going on in the minds of their coming invaders. The mass of invaders will soon attack and overpower them. Their campaign to overcome and enslave Judah will run so smoothly, it will be like a dream. Then, one day, they themselves will be conquered, and Judah will be free again. The whole invasion will be like a sudden hurricane, which does massive damage, but that damage will be repaired, and it will be like the storm never happened. Their whole invasion will be reflected on as if it were a bad dream.
There are two things that Isaiah is trying to get across to this insensitive people. God’s judgment is going to happen because his people deserve it. God is faithful to his word. But God’s faithfulness to his word also means that he will restore them. There will be a people left who will see that judgment from the other side, the restoration side.
This generation has tuned out the prophets of coming judgment. They do not want to hear about God’s wrath against sin. They want to erase hell. They never consider God as a God of armies who might even use war to get his people’s attention. Their god is all about peace and prosperity. To this generation, Isaiah declares that the nightmare is coming. See you on the other side.
LORD, forgive us for ignoring the message throughout most of your word. Teach us to take you seriously – not just the God of grace, but also the God of judgment.