In Isaiah 17, we have before us a testimony of how one part of the church became pagan. In this chapter, Isaiah shows that it happens, how it happens, what happens as a result, how to avoid it. When this happens, it is very destructive because the pagan part wages war against the more holy part. How does it happen? Alliances: Whom you are allied with you will become like. In this chapter Israel and Damascus are treated almost as one and the same. It is a picture of how the people of God identify with those who can give them what they crave, and yet, how many blessings flow when they look to their Maker and are “mindful of the Rock of our stronghold.”
The first part of our text has its focus on Damascus, v1-3, and then Israel… but then from there on, Israel and Damascus seem to be treated as one and the same.
Alliances and covenants are at the heart of relationship with God and man, as there is a joining – a covenant relationship. We see this negatively in Psalm 106:28 where we learn that the children of Israel joined themselves with Baal, “They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, And ate sacrifices made to the dead.”
Who you ally yourself with shows who you have faith in. Tragically, Israel has left her covenant husband and found a new husband. Using this example, God gives us insight into judgment in order to warn us in order to turn us to Him. Unless we turn our eyes to our maker and repent, we will all likewise perish…
The solution? Flee to Christ, renounce idols and embrace the gospel as Isaiah explains, “In that day a man will look to his Maker, And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, The work of his hands; He will not respect what his fingers have made, Nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.” – Isaiah 17:7-8
Many blessings flow when we look to our “Maker” and are been “mindful of the Rock of our stronghold.” But remember the flip side: your worldly alliances will rob you, and they will also be destroyed, “This is the portion of those who plunder us, And the lot of those who rob us.” – Isaiah 17:14