The Wise Farmer with Counsel and Judgment
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech. Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? When he has leveled its surface, Does he not sow the black cumin [seed used as spice]And scatter the cumin, Plant the wheat in rows, The barley in the appointed place, And the spelt [rye] in its place? For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him. For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin; But the black cummin is beaten out with a stick, And the cummin with a rod. Bread flourmust be ground; Therefore he does not thresh it forever, Break it with his cartwheel, Or crush it with his horsemen. This also comes from the Lord of hosts,Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance [sound wisdom]. Isaiah 28:23-29 (NKJV)
Isaiah chapter 28 is a long chapter that issues a “woe” to the Jewish people in the Northern (vv. 1–13) and Southern Kingdoms (vv. 14–29) that warns of severe punishment that is coming because of their pride and drunken rejection of God’s way. The stinging indictments in this chapter, Isaiah pronounces the judgment of God on wicked leaders who will not listen and learn. Isaiah asks who will learn from the Lord? Knowledge, is taught incrementally to children, “… precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”(28:10). But the leaders would not listen to Isaiah’s message from God! Instead,” The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment. …” (28:7–8). What an indictment!
They would be taught, but by “another tongue” (v. 11) – the foreign language of the Assyrian army that concurred the Northern kingdom (722 BC) and subsequently the Southern Kingdom would fall to the Babylonians decades later. The conquest of these divided kingdoms of God’s people were horrific; the thought of being conquered by the Assyrians brought terror to minds of the people. (28:19) Iron age warfare was merciless, killing and torturing the conquered fighters, and carrying the population off to foreign lands to work. Isaiah’s message was harsh.
The Wise Farmer
At the conclusion of the chapter, Isaiah pauses and inserts today’s passage before continuing his list of woes to Jerusalem in chapter 29. He reminds the people of the how the farmer carefully plows the fields (vv. 24-25) and plants the different kinds of seed (v.25). And when the farmer harvested and threshed, a specific method of threshing is used for each crop. But the farmer does not beat, grind, or crush the plants forever to extract the precious seeds; he knows when he has completed threshing. (vv. 27-28) even so, implies Isaiah, The Lord will know when the time of the coming judgment will stop, and it will produce the repentance of people who will turn to Him.
The Wise God of Israel
Who is the farmer? Isaiah concludes in verse 29, “All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.” (NIV) Yes, Isaiah concludes that the Lord who brings the terrible judgment is:
· Wonderful in the counsel that He brings – the very counsel that has been rejected by Israel’s’ leaders, and,
· Magnificent in wisdom – even applying the judgment by the Assyrian army to bring about repentance in his people.
Earlier in Isaiah’s prophetic book, He speaks of the coming Messiah, upon Whom the Spirit of the Lord will rest with counsel and wisdom: “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. (11:2)
Here is the divine and wise farmer who applies the right instruments, even punishment and judgment, in our lives to purify and remove the sin that easily besets us! (Hebrews 12:1)