Friday, March 28, 2008

Twelve Thorns of Isaiah

Isaiah uses the phrase, briars and thorns. I wonder if he means those stickers like we have in Texas? Stickers ride into our home on the shoelaces of tennis shoes. When our boys rode bikes, stickers would ride home on their bike tires and jean pant legs.

I will have to wait for the learned one to explore Isaiah, as he is planning to do for future Sunday School lessons---and of the twelve references to thorns in Isaiah, he might be interested to note the middle one, the one that foreshadows Jesus, in my opinion.

The first reference to thorns defines for us exactly who are the thorns and who are the vineyard.

Isaiah 5:5,6 And I will lay waste, it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed, for righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.

Briars and thorns replace the lush vineyards in the next four thorn references. Isaiah 7: 19, 23, 24, 25.

Now the next references to thorns are also closely linked to the four of the five times the phrase, "His Hand is Still Stretched Out".

Isaiah chapter 9 has the phrase, "His Hand is Still Stretched Out" in verses 12, 17 and 21. Thorns appear in verse 18: For wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes briars and thorns, it even sets the thickets of the forest aflame, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. Isaiah 9 is heavy with foreshadowings of the coming Messiah Jesus. And Isaiah 10:4 has the last of the five "His Hand is Still Stretched Out" and thorns in verse 17: And the Light of Israel will become a fire and His Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.

Great imagery, eh?? Too delicious.

Here are the other thorns references in Isaiah:

Isaiah 27:4
Isaiah 32:13
Isaiah 33:12
Isaiah 34:13

These speak of sad judgment, desolation, abandoned places. But, in the last of the Isaiah thorn references, promise that all will be restored:

Isaiah 55:13 Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.

The next verse gives us our marching orders: Thus says the Lord: Preserve justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed. How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it, who keeps from profaning the sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely separate me from His people." Neither let the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree." For thus says the LORD: To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath, and holds fast My covenant, even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer....

And I know that eunuch in the New Testament was found reading Isaiah, but couldn't it refer to any childless this side of heaven? And another of my favorite phrases---cling, hold fast--precious to a mom who once had a clinging vine named Ben.

1 comment:

Bob said...

I think Jennifer made a good catch on the subject of "thorns". In Genesis 22:13 the word "thicket" (that the ram had its head stuck in) comes from the root verb "to weave". So the substitutionary sacrifice (that took Isaac's place as the burnt offering) had its head crowned with woven thorns.


Thanks for researching this, dear. Good topic!