Have you found yourself disappointed as you look longingly over the horizon? Can you relate to the father of the prodigal son who probably daily searched the crest of the hill for his son’s return? The Bible is accurate when it says, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Isaiah 22-25 presents a unique contrast in the sources of hope.
A rare personal denunciation takes place in Isaiah 22 when he speaks against Shebna. We all are often focused on our homes, our gardens, our children, our schedules, and our hobbies. It is a unique person who serves the people around them. Shebna was a trusted government official. Yet, he was consumed with his own affairs and did not take much interest in his responsibility to care for the people. He was more concerned with his sepulcher than with serving. Isaiah tells Shebna he will die in another land and will be forgotten. If he was not concerned with others; others would not concern themselves with him. It appears he would be deprived of the thing for which he labored most—his sepulcher.
His replacement was going to be a man named Eliakim which means “my servant.” He would be everyone’s hero. All their hope would rest on this man. As great as the man Eliakim was he could not bear the burden of Judah’s hope. Isaiah uses the picture of a nail that bears too much weight and it is broken. Eliakim was noble. He was faithful, but he was only a man.
Another Servant would need to bear the hope of the whole world! The next couple of chapters uses the illustration of Shebna’s demise applied to the world. Those in the world who are consumed with themselves will be deprived of the things they desired most. The earth will be cleansed of self-seeking people who reject God and despise serving Him. But the Servant of the Lord will bring salvation. Those who hoped in Him will be rewarded. All the suffering will become a celebration. Death will be swallowed up in the victory.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; We have waited for him, and he will save us: This is the Lord; we have waited for him, We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. (Isaiah 25:9)
Hope thou in God, and serve Him. In the end, your wait will be rewarded.