Woe to Ariel (Jerusalem)
Ariel stands for Jerusalem and its meaning perhaps is “Lion of God” or “Altar hearth.”
Verse 1 – “Woe to Ariel, to Ariel the city where David dwelt! Add year to year; let feasts come around.
Verse 2 – Yet I will distress Ariel; there shall be heaviness and sorrow, and it shall be to Me as Ariel.
Verse 3 – I will encamp against you all around, I will lay siege against you with a mound, and I will raise siege-works against you.
Verse 4 – You shall be brought down, you shall speak out of the ground; your speech shall be low, out of the dust; your voice shall be like a medium’s , out of the ground; and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.”
Jerusalem was the place where the altar had sacrifices year after year. When Jerusalem was consumed by God’s wrath, it would be as though a great sacrifice was placed on the altar and consumed by fire.
Jerusalem had spoken loud and with a voice full of pride. Now, the Lord says, it will be brought low as a whisper, humbled.
Verse 5 – “Moreover the multitude of your foes shall be like fine dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passes away; yes, it shall be in an instant, suddenly.
Verse 6 – You will be punished by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire.
When God comes as a warrior, He often takes the form of a storm, earthquake, or fire.
Verse 7 – The multitude of all the nations who fight against Ariel, even all who fight against her and her fortress, and distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.
Verse 8 – It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams, and look – he eats; but he wakes and his soul is still empty; or as when a thirsty man dreams, and look – he drinks; but he awakes, and indeed he is faint, and his soul still craves; so the multitude of all nations shall be, who fight against Mount Zion.”
Those armies that move against Jerusalem will ultimately be unsuccessful.
Verse 9 – Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.
Verse 10 – For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; and has covered your heads, namely, the seers.
God’s people had hardened their hearts to the danger that was about to come upon them. Seers – your magistrates and ministers were covered with the veil of ignorance and stupidity.
Verse 11 – The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please”; and he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”
Verse 12 – Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please”; and he says, “I am not literate.”
God had plainly laid it out for his people, but they were spiritually “dull”, and could not make sense of it. They would not heed God’s warnings and will suffer the consequences for it.
Verse 13 – Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
God sees the heart. He also sees the “intent” of the heart. You can go to church every Sunday and sing worship songs all day long, but it all is done in vain if it is not from the heart. What is practiced at home, when alone with the Lord, can’t help but spill out in corporate worship. Israel was only going through the motions of worshiping God, and He knew it!
Verse 14 – Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
Jesus quoted Isaiah’s condemnation of Israel’s hypocrisy when he spoke to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his day (Matthew 15:7; Mark 7:6, 7)
verse 15 – Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord, and their works are in the dark; they say, “Who sees us?” And “Who knows us?”
Anytime we plot as individuals or as a leader, against what’s right, in God’s eyes, we are headed for a fall. I’ve seen so many times in the last ten years things our government has done in secrete, only for the American people to find out weeks, months, or even years later. Do they really think God does not see what they did while “in the dark” so to speak? He will bring it all to light , and I think He has done just that in this past year. The corruption is unbelievable!
Verse 16 – Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me:? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
The prophet pointed out how crazy it was for the “thing made,” to question the Creator. If you ever have to check your intelligence against how God thinks, I suggest you go to the Book of Job where God starts asking Job, “Where were you when I …?
Verse 17 – Is it not yet a very little while till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest? (Being changed from pride to humble.)
Verse 18 – In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
Verse 19 – The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Verse 20 – For the terrible one is brought to nothing, the scornful one is consumed, and all who watch for iniquity are cut off –
Verse 21 – Who make a man an offender by a word, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.
Verse 22 – Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale;
Verse 23 – But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel.
Verse 24 – These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding and those who murmured will learn doctrine.”
God will fulfill His promise to Abraham and Jacob by transforming His people when Christ reigns. Our new world will be filled with joy unspeakable, justice, and understanding. No more will we have to ask, “What does that mean?”