Isaiah 28 A Precious Cornerstone.
The pride and beauty of Ephraim and Jerusalem was a fading flower, brought down by the Lord, and trampled underfoot (vv. 1-4 Cf. 30:30). However, the LORD of hosts was “a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people” (v. 5). The LORD of hosts would also be justice “to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate” (v. 6). The gate to a city was the place where judgments were made, and among the remnant the LORD of hosts would, through his word, provide the only standard of true justice. The apostate leaders, prophets and priests, were drunk literally, and figuratively with their own pride, therefore they erred in vision and stumbled in judgment (v. 7-8 Cf. 5:11, 22; 56:10-12; Prov. 20:1; Hos. 4:11).
The nation should have learned from its infancy, line upon line, and precept upon precept, that it was the LORD who had given them wisdom and understanding, but instead line upon line and precept upon precept they would be judged (vv. 9-13 Cf. 30:15; 33:19; Neh. 9:30; Jer. 6:10; 35:15; 44:4-5; Mt. 11:28-29). The apostate leaders of the nation presumed to make “a covenant with death,” so that it would pass over, but in doing so they were finding a refuge of falsehood in their own lies (vv. 14-15 Cf. 9:15; Amos 2:4). They made the righteous sad, and “strengthened the hands of the wicked” (Ezek. 13:22). Into this very same context, the Lord God would send the Messiah, “a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation” (v. 16 Cf. Gen. 49:24).
There can be no doubt that for the remnant these words, and those which follow, would find their fulfillment in the Anointed One (Cf. 8:14-15; Ps. 118:22; Mt. 21:42; Mk. 12:10; Lk. 20:17; Acts 4:11; Rom. 9:33; 10:11; Eph. 2:20; I Pet. 2:6-8). The covenant with death made by the apostate leaders would be annulled, as the mere report of the coming judgment would cause them terror (vv. 17-20). On behalf of the remnant the LORD would arise, as with the defeat of the Philistines at Perazim and Gibeon (Cf. 10:22; II Sam. 5:19-20; Josh. 10:10-12). What is “unusual” here is that this judgment would fall on apostate Israel (v. 21). The people are warned against mocking this word from the Lord God of hosts, regarding this destruction to come upon the whole earth (v. 22 Cf. Dan. 9:27).
Just as the farmer will not plow indefinitely, but will eventually sow his seed, even so God will not warn forever, at some point there will be seed sown, and a harvest of good fruit and bad (vv. 23-25). This was a call to hear and listen (Cf. 1:2; Prov. 1:8; 4:1; 5:1). “As timing is important for success in farming, so God has times for grace and for judgment” (NGSB p.1070). God teaches the sower how to sow, and the farmer how to harvest, adapting to the produce harvested (vv. 26-28). “This also comes from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance” (v. 29 Cf. 9:6; Jer. 32:19). This being the case cummin and flour, how much more the seed of the word. “O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep” (Ps. 92:5).