23 And he will give rain for your seed which you plant in the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, and it will be rich and full. On that day, your cattle will graze in a wide pasture. 24 and the oxen and the donkeys that are tilling the ground will eat silage, feed that has been winnowed with shovel and pitchfork. 25 And there will be streams on every high mountain and elevated hill, watercourses of water, on a day of great slaughter, when towers fall. 26 And the light of the full moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on that day when Yahveh binds up the breakage of his people, and he heals the wound of his blow. 27 See! The name of Yahveh comes from afar, his anger burns and heaviness of cloud. His lips shout full indignation, and his tongue like a devouring fire. 28 And his breath like an overflowing river; it reaches up to the neck to shake nations, winnowing out worthlessness; and a bridle that turns them away is attached to peoples’ jaws.
winnowing out worthlessness
Isaiah first talks about the blessings of that await Judah if that nation will only reject the lure of Assyria’s paganism and return to a covenant relationship with him. Then, when God comes in judgment, Judah will enjoy the fullness of abundant crops and herds. He makes a point of saying that the animals will eat feed that has been winnowed, not just any old grass that happens to be growing.
Next, Isaiah describes the judgment itself. The short view is Yahveh’s judgment and overthrow of Assyria. So, Isaiah says that God is going to winnow out worthlessness. He is going to take away that chaff and restore purity and value to his people.
The long view that Isaiah describes is the coming judgment which Christ will bring with him when he returns. God’s people will know the joy of his fullness and pleasure. They will know the joy of a pure faith, where all the false allegiances and worthless thinking is winnowed out. That is why even though the Lord’s coming will be a terrible time of judgment and destruction, we still welcome it.
Come, Lord Jesus.