“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22
Isaiah 22:22 is rich with meaning and speaks profoundly to men in every age and of every age, but particularly to those entrusted with the care and stewardship of the resources stored up for the people of God.
This particular conference is part of a larger impartation and transfer of authority from one man to another. As is often the case with prophecies given to individuals God is also speaking to nations or to the spiritual forces associated with them This is what God did when prophesying to the Prince of Tyre [Ezekiel 28:2} a man who was the ruler of the nation, and to the King of Tyre [Ezekiel 28:12] the spirit-being who was controlling the kingdom of Tyre. Or he is prophesying things concerning higher beings, ultimately revealing something of the nature, character or authority of Jesus.
This is the case in Isaiah 22:22. Shebna [meaning: who rests himself, is now captive] was a man who was the steward, treasurer and overseer in the courts of Hezekiah. But, Shebna proved to be an ambitious, self-seeking traitor to the people and betrayer of the trust given to him by allying himself with the Assyrians against Judah and Jerusalem. He was filled with such pride and vanity that he treated the wealth of the treasury, that should have been used to support the armies, maintain the city infrastructure and repair the breaches in its walls, as his own personal bank to be used at his pleasure. From it he even built himself a grand estate hewn in the rock and adorned as a monument to his greatness as though it would forever stand as a tribute to his self-imagined exalted station and importance. Instead of acting as a faithful steward over the house of Hezekiah and the people, he accounted himself a ruler and claimed ownership of all that was merely entrusted to his management.
Because he abandoned the duties of his office of responsibility to care for the needs of the nation the city, the people were left vulnerable to invaders. Because the walls were not fortified, invading forces would have no trouble breaching it. Because the army was left unsupplied they were ill-prepared and ill-equipped for war. They could offer no meaning resistance to their invaders.
Shebna held the key to the storehouses, the treasury, and every place in the House of Hezekiah. He could hire and fire whom ever he pleased and he could set up under lords and mangers at his discretion alone. His power, authority and influence were second only to the king’s, but he used it without regard for or acknowledgment of the king. He arrayed himself in the finest garments and trappings and used his chariots to parade his importance before all the people.
But God sent the prophet to prophecy to him (and those in league with him) of his inevitable fall and disgrace that would be the lasting fruit of his ways if he did not take heed to the warning of God amend his ways. But still he, nor the people, took seriously the warning of God. Instead, they mocked the prophet and said to themselves, “Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”
“You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses you broke down to fortify the wall. You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago. And in that day the Lord GOD of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth. But instead, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Then it was revealed in my hearing by the LORD of hosts, “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.” Isaiah 22:10-14
Instead of acknowledging his sin when God was giving him time to repent he acted as though God could not touch him or his friends because they were rich and had plenty to live on, living no thought to the fact that God made all things and they were in His hand to give or to take away in an instant.
So the prophet is instructed to go to the man, Shebna and declare the utter rending from him of all that he possesses and his future of ignobility, disgrace and isolation that will come upon him. His pride and arrogance, his extortion and trickery, his misuse of the resources that God provided for His people will suddenly and utterly cease. The monument he has built for himself will never be inhabited and he will never see it again.
In his place God is raising up another man who will deal righteously and act honorably in the stewardship of the King’s house.
“Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. “They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers. In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, “the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken.’ ” Isaiah 22:20-25
Eliakim means “God raises up.” God raised him up in Shebna’s place to become the governor over Heziakiah’s palace. For this position of great responsibility, power and authority God give him the key of the house of David. The Royal house over which Hezkiah ruled was first given by God to David and his descendants for ever, ultimately fulfilled in the coronation of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As Eliakim’s authority to open and man can shut and to shut and no man can open according to his sole discretion every place in the house of Hezikiah, so it is that Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to His disciples, to Peter and the others and to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ now and forever.
As Shebna’s authority was as a peg fastened in a secure place, so he shall be removed, be cut down and fall from his high place, he and his evil works that weighed heavy on the people will be cut off from them. But Eliakim will be well established as a peg fashioned in a secure place. And all the glory that was his father’s will be conferred to him. And his authority and power will be absolute.
This is a type and shadow of Jesus and so it shall ne with His church. The Key of the house of David gave access and authority to Eliakim to govern all the affairs of the King’s house. Likewise, Jesus has given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to His Church to govern all the affairs of His house. We, in His name, can open and no one can shut, and we can shut and no one can open.
We have the blessed, honorable and profound authority in and access to all the resources of Heaven.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are wein this world.” 1 John 4:17