Summary of passages: Isaiah 28: Ephraim is being warned of woe because of its pride and drunkenness. The wreath (its pride) will be trampled and it’s glorious beauty will be swallowed. In that day the Lord will be a glorious crown for the remnant. He will be a spirit of justice and a source of strength. Others are too drunk to lead the people, to see, and make decisions. The people mock Isaiah (in essence, the Lord) for his words, saying he speaks to only little children. Isaiah responds by saying the Lord will lay a cornerstone (the Messiah) for those who trust in Him who will bring justice and righteousness and annul the covenant with death. The Lord will rise up and perform his task. Stop the mocking because the Lord will destroy the land depending on how obedient the people are.
Isaiah 29: Woe to Ariel (Jerusalem or David’s City). The Lord will come against Ariel and bring the people low. However, their enemies will become like dust. The Lord will come like a vision in the night against her enemies but Ariel’s enemies will be frustrated. Their dreams will be unfulfilled because the Lord will frustrate them. God makes the people spiritually deaf and blind because the people’s hearts are not with God. He knows your plans for He is the Creator, the potter. But the Lord will restore in his timing. Lebanon will be fertile and in that day the deaf will hear, the blind see, the humble and needy will rejoice, the ruthless vanish, the mockers disappear, the evil banished. When the house of Jacob sees their children, they will acknowledge the holiness of God and stand in awe. Their spirits will be restored, shall have understanding, and have truth.
3) The wreath is the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards–it is fading, unable to accomplish anything (decisions or visions). The crown (God) is glorious and beautiful, a spirit of justice, a source of strength.
4) Ephraim mocks Isaiah, saying his words are for little children and do not apply to them and they boast they will not be harmed (in essence, mocking God since Isaiah is speaking His words). Many people today are the same. They take the good from the Bible, the parts they like, and disregard the rest.
5) Personal question. My answer: He will lay a cornerstone (the Messiah) for those who trust–they will never be dismayed. Justice and righteousness will be the foundations. We cannot escape Him. If we trust, God will be our foundation to stand on.
6a) Ariel’s enemies will become like dust, the fields will become fertile, pride will be removed so the deaf will hear and the blind will see (spiritual deafness and blindness), the humble and needy will rejoice, the ruthless will vanish, the mockers disappear, the evil will be cut down. When they (the people) see their children, they will acknowledge the holiness of God and stand in awe of Him. Those who erred in spirit will have understanding and those who murmured shall have truth.
b) Personal question. My answer: I’m not hiding any and it’s foolish because the Lord sees and knows all your plans and your heart.
c) How can the created (us humans or the pot) know more than the Creator (Lord or the potter)? People think they do know everything and can do no wrong (pride and conceit). They can discount what God says as old-fashioned and inapplicable since times have changed. But you can’t. God’s truths are universal and He doesn’t change.
Conclusions: Lots of personal questions and parts here. I missed this in Lesson 12 which was mostly fact-finding. This should make for some interesting discussion.
You had to dig to find the hope in chapters entitled “Woe to Ephraim” and “Woe to David’s City” but it’s there. Another prediction of the Messiah if the people turn and believe in Isaiah 28. Isaiah 29 admittedly stumped me. I only got the superficial level, not the spiritual level the first go-around. I used this explanation for help: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/2329.htm
Same old message, different terminology: Follow me and be saved or face the consequences (here specifically spiritual blindness and deafness).
I liked the potter and clay analogy. God made us. He knows all. It reminds me of the kids books I have for my kids by Max Lucado about the Wemmicks. These are stories about a man who made a whole village of wooden people who lives on a hill. It brings the whole maker versus the made down to a kids’ level. Great stuff. I’d recommend all of the books for kids (and adults)!
End note: Mount Perazim is where God fought the Philistines in 2 Samuel 5:20 and the Valley of Gibeon is where God fought against the Canaanites in Joshua 10:10-11 and again in a separate battle against the Philistines in 1 Chronicles 14:16.