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Blog #6, Isaiah 14:3-23, Application

I have been explaining Isaiah 14:3-23 through a series of blogs. This will be the sixth blog in the series. In this blog, I will explain how the timeless-theological-principles taught in the text might be applied in the lives of Christians today. In a previous blog I identified three timeless-theological-principles taught in the text:

1. A ruler can be cruel, because of pride and sinful desire. (vv. 4b-6)

2. When an evil ruler is taken out of power the people and the earth rejoice. (vv. 7-8)

3. The Lord alone is omnipotent and eternal; the Lord God is the sovereign of the universe and death is the great leveler of all men. (vv. 9-21)

How the Timeless Theological Principle Applied to the Original Audience

Isaiah was a prophet of the Lord God in Judah and Jerusalem during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, Kings of Judah. (Isa 1:1) Isaiah prophesied during the time of the Assyrian threat and destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel. Chapters 1-39 deal primarily with Jerusalem during the time period of the Assyrian threat, but looks ahead to the future threat of Babylon.[1]

The things that Isaiah had been prophesying were very difficult even for the prophet to take. Although Judah and Jerusalem escaped the Assyrian threat, they would not escape a future threat by the Babylonians. Chapter 14 is an interlude in which he looks past the future threat of Babylon to a future rejoicing by the house of Israel over the death of the wicked king of Babylon.

Therefore, it is the desire of Isaiah that those in his day who heard and read this text repent and trust in the sovereignty of the Lord God to destroy evil. It is a frequent theme in Isaiah’s writing for those who hear to “trust in the Lord.”[2]

How the Timeless Theological Principle Applies to People Today

None of us are living in Judah or Jerusalem in the 8th century B.C. None of us are under the threat of the Assyrians. Our closest neighbors to the north have not been invaded by the Assyrians. None of us are under the Mosaic covenant and are not faced with the curses promised in the book of Deuteronomy for not keeping the covenant; therefore, we are not threatened with invasion by Babylon and subject to its cruel king.

We can however find ourselves subject to a cruel person who has authority over us. Therefore, the timeless-theological-principles that are taught in this text have application in our lives when we find ourselves under the authority of a cruel person. I am going to talk about a scenario that is close to me and close to those that I work with.

I work as a Registered Nurse in a Cardiovascular Intensive-Care-Unit. I have been a Registered Nurse for twenty years. I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. I have received certifications from the American Association of Critical-Care Nursing: Critical-Care-Registered-Nurse (CCRN) and Cardiovascular-Surgery-Certified (CSC).

A surgeon has authority over a nurse when we are caring for a patient whom that surgeon took to surgery. On our unit, there is a particular surgeon who can be very cruel to the nursing staff. If anything goes wrong with the patient it is always the nurse that he blames and does so very cruelly.

Cardiovascular surgery is very high risk with many potential complications: Bleeding, respiratory failure, kidney failure, stroke and even death. The nursing staff on my unit are all professionals who do a great job caring for the patients, the majority recover and go home within five days.

But complications do occur and there is nothing that we can do to prevent it. When they occur, with this particular surgeon, he will often say, “WHAT DID YOU DO?” Instantly blaming the nurse and acting very angry. Even though I have many years of experience, if one of his patients begins bleeding I lament, because I know that wrath is coming my way when I report it.

It was the desire of Isaiah that those in his day who heard and read this text repent and trust in the sovereignty of the Lord God. Therefore, all the nurses that I work with can trust in the Lord. He is the sovereign Lord of the universe. Though we may endure cruel persons who have authority over us today. The Lord Jesus Christ will return. When He does there will be a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness reigns.

The Story of Bob, Pat and Steve

Once upon a time there were three young men by the name of Bob, Pat and Steve. All three young men loved the game of baseball. They would often play a game of catch with each other in the neighborhood. Sometimes they would even go to the local park during their summer break and play a real game just like the big leaguers. All three young men were Christians. They had meet in their youth group.

The summer break had ended. Bob, Pat and Steve were all excited because they were going into the 8th grade. You see, their school had a baseball team in the 8th grade, but they would have to endure school until March. That’s when try-outs for the team were held.

On the first day of school all three young men received their schedules. As they went over their classes it was noticed that Pat had Mr. Franklin for 5th period Biology. Bob and Steve warned Pat that they had heard that Mr. Franklin gives Christians a hard time. All three went to their classes looking forward to the year ahead and especially baseball try-outs.

When 5th period began, Mr. Franklin gave an assignment. “Write a 100-word essay on the evolution of species.” Pat wrote his essay, in which he stated, according to the class text book, what the theory of evolution is, but he also stated that he did not believe it to be correct. Pat said that he believed that the Bible’s account of creation was correct. That God created everything in heaven and on earth and that people were created by God in His image.

On the following day papers were passed out. When Pat received his paper, the Mark was an “F,” in red ink and circled. From that point on, no matter how hard Pat tried, he could not get a passing grade in the class even though he was passing all of his other classes.

This was a problem for Pat, because school rules stated that a student had to be passing all of his/her classes in-order to try-out for baseball. The month of March came around, Bob and Steve made the team, but Pat was not even able to try-out.

Bob and Steve’s warnings about Mr. Franklin had come true. Pat was failing his class and knew the reason why, but could not prove it. Even though he was passing his other classes he did not have high marks, because he was an average student.

It was a very difficult year for Pat. He could not play the game that he loved with his friends. Pat’s Sunday school teacher had recently taught a lesson on Isaiah 14:3-23. In which he gave three timeless-theological-principles taught in the text:

1 A ruler can be cruel, because of pride and sinful desire. (vv. 4b-6)

2 When an evil ruler is taken out of power the people and the earth rejoice. (vv. 7-8)

3 The Lord alone is omnipotent and eternal; the Lord God is the sovereign of the universe and death is the great leveler of all men. (vv. 9-21)

Pat’s Sunday school teacher taught the class to trust in the Lord during times of difficulty. Trust the Lord even when faced with a cruel person who has authority over you. That person’s authority will eventually come to an end.

Pat understood that Mr. Franklin would not always be his teacher. He understood that there will be another year in which he could make the baseball team. He trusted in the Lord, believing that one day Christ would return. When Christ returns there will be a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness reigns.


[1] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book a Guided Tour (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 175.
[2] Isaiah 26:4, NASB95.

Bibliography

Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

The Holy Bible Udated New American Standard Bible. La Habra: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.