“The burden against the Valley of Vision. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops, you who are full of noise, a tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. Isaiah 22:1-2 “For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the Valley of Vision—Breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountain.” Isaiah 22:5
There are geographical valleys such as the ones we’ve referenced in part 1, and there are metaphorical valleys such as those mentioned in Psalm 23, Isaiah 22 and Joel 3. There are also references to times and circumstances in our lives that are expressed in the Scriptures as valleys. These are generally times of deep struggle, great loss, despair, upheaval or danger. They can also be times of the judgment of God, and they may extend over a considerable period of time. Such is the case with the Valley of Vision. Geographically, it is a reference to Jerusalem, because it is surrounded by seven hills or mountains. 1) Mount Scopus, 2) Mount Olivet (Mount of Olives), 3) Mount of Corruption (all three are peaks in a mountain ridge that lies east of the old city), 4) Mount Ophel, 5) the original Mount Zion, 6) New Mount Zion and 7) the hill on which the Antonia Fortress was built. Source: https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/map-of-jerusalem-and-its-seven-hills.html “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken, but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore”. Psalm 125:1-2 To understand the prophecy of the Valley of Vision in Isaiah 22 you need to see the bigger picture of the series of prophecies that begins in Isaiah 13 and 14 with the opening statement “The Burden against…” We won’t pursue them other than to just list them here.
Chapters 13 and 14 “The burden against Babylon …” Isaiah 13:1 Chapters 15 and 16 “The burden against Moab…” Isaiah 15:1 Chapters 17 and 18 “The burden against Damascus. …” Isaiah 17:1 Chapters 19 and 20 “The burden against Egypt…” Isaiah 19:1
Chapter 21 “The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea.(Babylon...” Isaiah 21:1 “The burden against Dumah…” Isaiah 21:11 “The burden against Arabia….” Isaiah 21:13 Chapter 22 “The burden against the Valley of Vision…” Isaiah 22:1 Chapter 23 “The burden against Tyre. …” Isaiah 23:1
Beginning with Isaiah chapter 28 there are a series of woes unto the people of the nations.
In each of these instances of the “burden against,” the righteous judgment of God is declared over the nations because of their rejection of God who created and blessed them, and because of their embrace of idols, false gods, particularly Baal and Ashtoreth, and because they debased themselves in all manner of wickedness, corrupting the young, sacrificing their children to Baal and mocking God and His mercy toward them.
Their merchandising and maritime trading extended their wealth and the reach of their influence throughout the world, was extensive. Their empires were vast and deeply invested in all manner of treachery and plunder, devastation and violence, all for the sake of wealth and power over people and nations.
It is in the beginning of this series of “burdens against” that their comes the judgment against Lucifer, the archangel, falling from Heaven (Isaiah 14) and the end of his days when he is bound for all time in hell. It is his spirit and his forces of evil that have prompted all the wickedness of the nations. In this series of “burdens against” God declares his end which will be swift and complete.
God declares His righteous judgment against all the nations around Jerusalem, then He turn His focus on Jerusalem itself. The Valley of Vision (Jerusalem) speaks to God’s judgment against Israel for her fall from keeping and honoring God’s holy laws, going after false gods like the nations around them, and then resorting to their own devices to defend themselves against the invasion of their land by their enemies. In a vain attempt to gain favor from those who hated them they made alliances with evil rulers rather than seek the Lord for His help in repentance and humility.
The Valley of Vision (Jerusalem) was and is for Israel the place of God’s presence on earth. It was the home of the prophets. The Ark of the Covenant was there and God was known there because His presence was in Temple, the Holiest of Holy places, at the Mercy Seat, where He would meet with His people through the intercession of the High Priest. This was a promise to Moses and passed down to David and ultimately to the High Priest to enter in and make intercession for the people.
“You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:21-22
By contrast Babylon was known as the Desert of the Sea, because God was not known there. The people were estranged from God walking in the ways of Baal and Ashtoreth. The Valley of Vision was so called because it was the place where God’s Word could be heard and His prophets spoke as they received visions, blessings, revelations and exhortations for the people that they should pursue their destiny in God’s will for them as they walked in His ways and kept His laws.
But here in Isaiah 22 the Valley of Vision is also the subject of a “burden against.”
This burden is particularly severe for Jerusalem and for Judah, because they alone were the keepers of the Words of God. To them alone God revealed Himself through the prophets, by signs wonders and miracles. To them alone were entrusted the oracles of God to proclaim to the nations. But they failed to follow Him, they failed to live righteously even though they were so abundantly blessed and favored by God. Even though God had time and again given them the victory over their enemies, even over nations whose armies were much greater then their, still they forgot Him and chose to worship the false gods of the nations He had commanded them to subdue.
They abused their privilege and made themselves greater in their eyes than the God who showed them such favor over all the nations of the earth. As in the previous chapters the “burden against” the nations around Jerusalem also came to Jerusalem, not to utterly destroy it, but to make it tremble in anticipation of the invasion of Sennacherib’s army against them, so that they would be shaken to come to repentance and to call on the Lord their God.
As children of God, as Christians our worldview, our understanding of life, its meaning and purpose are centered on our relationship with Jesus Christ. Through Him we are given insight into eternal things that the world apart from Him cannot see. We have been given eyes to see and ears to hear, but not just those things in the natural world. We have been given, by the Holy Spirit access into the world of the spirit which is indeed the “real” world.
When we see things that trouble our minds and vex our spirits it is because we are seeing them at a deeper level and we understand their greater implications for us and for those we love. Every day we are hearing more and more about political issues and social changes to the way future generations are being indoctrinated into anti Christian thinking, fostering the false notion that man is able to rule over his own life without the constraints and dictates of God. Yes he may rule over his life in foolishness and denial of God but it will not profit him or lead to eternal life.
When men dismiss the warnings of God and attempt to censor or render silent His prophets, evangelists and teachers, they are destined to run headlong into their own destruction. God has gone to extraordinary lengths to reveal Himself to them but they, like Israel in the Valley of Vision, still turn away from Him and go after the gods of the godless nations around them.
How often have we heard comparisons made of other countries to ours where “they” are always said to be superior to us in some manner or another. Not realizing that no nation on the earth save for Israel has been more highly favored protected and blessed by God for the sake of His name among His people, than ours. As One Nation Under God we became the envy of the world, and so much so that people will try any way they can to get here and make this their home. Yet there are those among us who only speak criticism, strife, anger and hatred against this nation and do all that they can to divide us and create the false notion that we are the worse nation on the earth. Bu they do this because at our core we acknowledge God and His sovereign rule over the hearts of His people.
So, what can we do as believers in Jesus Christ? How do we live in the midst of this ever changing world in the midst of what appears to be a growing number of haters moving up to political power and dominance over the culture? We stand firm in the liberty God has given us and we stand firm on the truth of the Word of God. We stay vigilant to keep ourselves from idols and from the consent by silence when confronted with the lies and deceptions of the enemy of God and His people.
We are God’s people and the sheep of His pasture. We need to seek His Word and His will daily and walk in the world as the light, as the children of The Light that He has recreated us to be. Our food is to do His will and our drink is to know His heart and follow in His ways in all things. That is the truest fulfillment of our new nature and our calling as those who are being transformed to conform to the image of Christ.
Pray for peace as you prepare for war. Be mindful of the enemy’s tactics but know that greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Speak to your own soul to know and to be reminded that we are the children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ of all that God has created. Know that our salvation is not in this world only, but it is eternal in the Heavens with the angels and archangels and all living creatures in Heaven and on earth.
Next in part three we explore the manner of God’s judgment against them.