There is a group of people who the Bible calls scoffers and to scoff means to show great disrespect with mocking laughter or behavior. All of the warnings of Isaiah about how the people should live is not only being ignored they are also making fun of Isaiah and his message. Jesus told us that the treatment Isaiah received that we will receive as well if we live for Him.
Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This is difficult for us when we want to tell someone what we believe but we get ridiculed for it. With statements like “You are on the wrong side of History” of “you believe in fairy tales; I believe in science”. These statements can silence us because we are told what we believe is outdated and for the uneducated. We will face people who not only ignore what we are trying to tell them but there will be some who will scoff at us as well. The main reason for this is because they want to be the god of their own lives and live how they want without having to submit or surrender their lives to the God who is the creator of all.
Proverbs 21:24 Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.
It is pride that keeps people from accepting the truth but a truth we must share no matter how much they make fun of us.
Isaiah 28:14-15 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! 15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement, when the overwhelming whip passes through it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter
1) Scoffers refuse to be corrected
“We have made lies our refuge and in falsehood we have taken shelter” (Vs 15)
Proverbs 13:1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
This was not people that rebelled occasionally, scoffers are ingrained with a habit of mocking and ignoring God’s principles. The problem with scoffers is that they were using their power and influence to lead others with them down the wrong path. Through intimidation and lies they deceived others into following them. They reject what God has provided because they place their hope in deceptive covenant with death.
What they thought would bring hope Isaiah interprets it as bringing death. The people were placing their trust in Egypt for protection just like many people turn to other people or things for salvation instead of turning to Jesus Christ. What the people in Isaiah’s day were ignoring is the warnings of the destruction to come. People today ignore the warnings of the destruction to come as well and that destruction is their souls separated from God. Many people falsely believe that they are on “Good Terms” with God when the Bible tells us we are separated from Him. They believed that” When the whip passes through it will not come upon us” (15) “I’m good with God” “We all go to Heaven” “We are all God’s Children” are common things you will hear from people.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death
Since people are refusing the life that Jesus offers (John 10:10) they are choosing and making a covenant with death. (A legal contract that is binding) Some believe that this goes further than their military agreement with Egypt but also the faith and hope they had put into foreign gods. They were mixing their worship of the true God with religious practices of other religions believing that praying and offering sacrifices to other gods was just as good as praying to God Himself. Scoffers do not want to be corrected so they search out people who tell them what they want to hear and not people who will tell them the truth. 2 Timothy 4:3 says they look for teachers that agree with them because some people are not deceived some people purposely give into the deception so they can live how they want.
Isaiah 28:16-21 therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid[a] as a
foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure
foundation:‘ Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ 17 And I
will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it. 19 As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. 20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on,
and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in. 21 For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim; as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused; to do his deed—strange is his deed! and to work his work—alien is his work!
2) Scoffers reject God’s gift
“I am the one who has laid a foundation”
What God builds is built on a steady foundation that will not crumble or fall, it is a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, and a sure foundation. The architect would be sure that the foundation could handle the weight of the building. Of course we know that the foundation that Christianity is built on is Jesus Christ. Isaiah 28:16 is quoted three times in the New Testament and each time the foundation refers to Jesus Christ. (Romans 9:30-33; 10:9-13; and 1 Peter 2:6-8)
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Salvation is free and cannot be earned only accepted (Ephesians 2:8-9) because all of the works we do are nothing if not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. When people say they do a bunch of good works what they must realize is that if they are not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ then they are going to crumble and fall just like a beautiful building that is built on a faulty foundation.
The reason for this is because what God requires is “A plumb line of Justice and righteousness “and because most people have a wrong view of sin and a wrong view of God they think that they can build a house by their own standards. We cannot meet the standards on our own doing or by any other way than through Jesus Christ. The standard to be in the presence of God is no sin and guilt and Romans 3:10 tells us that no one is righteous and Romans 3:21-22 tells us that we obtain our righteousness not from the law but from accepting Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus took our place because we could not meet the standard of God.Jesus was the only one to walk the earth sinless but became sin for us so we could be made (Not become) righteous. Matthew 5:17 says that Jesus came to fulfill the law something we could not do on our own but people still believe that by their works and their good behavior they can earn it.
“Your agreement with Sheol will not stand and when the scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it.” (18)
Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Both houses looked identical but in the end only one was built on the rock which is Jesus Christ because no other foundation will last when they stand before God because only Jesus life is acceptable to God.
“As often as it passes through, day and night it passes through and it will be sheer terror to understand the message” (19)
The scoffers will understand the message but by this time it will be too late. The Assyrians would not just attack once but they would come through several times destroying people and their land and just like in Luke 16 the story of the rich man and Lazarus the rich man knew his terror would not end .
For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in”(20)
In a bed you find rest, but Isaiah is telling them the bed they are making will not bring them rest or comfort because what they were looking to for comfort will be a bed they will not find rest in.
For the Lord will rise up… to do His deed… strange is His deed… Alien is His work (21)
This is not something that God wants to do but His Holy and righteous character cannot ignore their rejection of the foundation. John 3:36 says the wrath of God is still on those who do not accept Jesus Christ but the wrath of God was put on Jesus for those who do accept Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 28:22-23 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be
for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.
23 Give ear, and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech.
3) Scoffers still have time to repent
“Hear my voice.. Hear my speech” (23) Isaiah is pleading with them to not ignore the warnings of God about what is to come. The Scoffers believed that God would not judge them and that God would not use their enemies to punish them. Again, because of the wrong view of God and the wrong view of our sins people do not think that the wrath of God applies to them.
Romans 2:4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
As we will see this story ends with King Hezekiah repenting and turning to God and God accepts His heart change but later generations did not and the full wrath fell on Jerusalem in 586 BC God is always willing to accept a willing heart no matter how much they have done on this earth and no matter how close to death they are. The reason why God can accept a person no matter how they have lived and how much time they have on earth is because it is not our life that makes us righteous but only the life Jesus.
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
“If someone is scoffing at your loving words of truth, don’t take it personally- they’re scoffing at God. When we get bent out of shape and react as though people are rejecting us, were operating under a bit of a god complex. We aren’t God, so we need not act like people are disrespecting us when they turn their backs on truth. .. On judgment day, people aren’t going to answer to you and me. They will face the Lord. We need to keep that in mind and not personalize disagreement.” (God, Greed and the Prosperity Gospel, Costi W. Hinn, PG 207)
Who do you know that needs to hear the truth that God’s wrath will be poured out one day? Regardless of how we are treated we have to speak the truth in love and warn people of the wrath that is to come.