Isaiah 24 stands as a warning of the dangers of worldliness. Just after Rome was sacked by the Goths, Augustine preached a sermon saying, “Do not hold on to the old man, the world. Do not refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you; ‘The world is passing away, the world is losing its grip, the world is short of breath. Do not fear. Your youth shall be renewed as an eagle.'” Augustine was well aware of the crumbling of the city of man and the emptiness it sells. He wrote a book about it, The City of God, where he compared the two defining cities – the city of God and the city of man. This is the focus of a new section in Isaiah which spans from chapter 24-27. Here Isaiah pictures two cities. These chapters form one unified message.
These two cities are contrasted in chapters 24-27: There is the ruined city of man: 24:10; 25:2; 25:12; 26:5; 27:10. And there is the happy city of God – Mount. Zion: 24:23; 25:6-7; 25:10; 27:13
Building on the previous section
In chapters 24-27, Isaiah is expanding on the previous section. He has been speaking of judgment against individual nations, and specific places in the world. Now, Isaiah seems to be bringing it all together to give a vision of what will happen after these temoral judgments. After the temporal judgments, there will be a final judgment were everything of the city of man collapses forever.
Another sermon on judgment?
This is another chapter of judgment of the wicked. The language is devastating as you will see. We have heard of much judgment so far in Isaiah. Question: Is it wise to speak of judgment so often? Should we minimize these discouraging messages? It depends on how you apply them. Is it better to know of a coming disaster? Is it better to be informed of cancer early our late? Is it better to know how to describe the wrath of God to people in this world, or is it better that you don’t have a rich language to communicate it? One thing is certain: God is merciful to declare His coming judgment. In Isaiah 24 that judgment is catastrophic and comprehensive. Why? verse 5, explains, “Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant.”
An end in sight
Don’t think that your sorrows will continue indefinitely. Don’t think that the world will continue on with one temporal judgment from God after another forever. It will stop one day. Isaiah 24 declares various elements of what this will look like. God will “utterly” change everything forever. In chapters 13-23, Isaiah has been warning of the end of the nations as they have come to know themselves. He has spoken of their temporal end. He has identified how and sometimes even when He would humble them while they are on the earth. Now he speaks of their final end. All for what? In order to say, “Do not love the world or the things in this world… do not nourish the old man – God will put an end to him.”