Isaiah 34:8-12: For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense, for the cause of Zion
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense, for the cause of Zion.
9 And the streams [of Edom] will be turned into pitch and its dust into brimstone, and its land will become burning pitch.
10 [The burning of Edom] shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11 But the pelican and the porcupine will possess it; the owl and the bittern and the raven will dwell in it. And He will stretch over it [Edom] the measuring line of confusion and the plummet stones of chaos [over its nobles].
12 They shall call its nobles to proclaim the kingdom, but nothing shall be there, and all its princes shall be no more.
It states The Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense. There is a day and hour in which the day of the Lord shall come. It is a time of God’s rightful judgement. The justice of God is perfect. It has a perfect time, and the Lord waits until sin has fully reached maturity before it is poured out. God is not a quick reactionary who simply desires to destroy humanity at every turn. God instead is abounding love and slow to anger. But His mercy and patience has a limit, and here Edom simply represents every nation and people that would stand against the purposes of God. God in His time will rightly deal with the wicked. This is why God says vengeance belongs to me (Deuteronomy 32:35).
The description we have of what God will do to the steams, dust, and land is a picture of what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-29). God’s judgement was poured out in fire and brimstone upon the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham interceded beginning by asking God if there are fifty righteous if He would spare the city. By the time Abraham was done, it was down to if there were ten. But it was only Lot and his family who were saved from the judgement of Almighty God. God’s judgement is always poured out when sin and wickedness has reached levels that invite the judgement of God. As the Lord fixes His gaze upon Edom in these verses, this is a message to all who would conduct themselves in wickedness and sin.
It says that the burning of Edom shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall go up forever. God’s judgement would be thorough. It would not be quick, but it would thoroughly be poured out in the measure that is equal to the sin and wickedness that has taken place. We have similar language in Revelation 19:3 in which God speaks about the coming destruction of Babylon which represents the world and its system. God does not take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked (Ezek 33:11). But when the judgement of God is poured out, it is inescapable. The only way to be saved from the wrath of Almighty God is repentance and humbling oneself before Almighty God.
The birds and animals all described here are unclean (Leviticus 11). God states that these unclean animals will inhabit this nation that has been touched by the judgement of God. What will remain is confusion and chaos. Before the Lord spoke and said let there be light, the earth was darkness and void. It was chaos and confusion. It is only God who can bring forth life and it is only God who can bring forth order. But the result of God’s judgement upon a people who believe themselves to be accountable to no one is complete and utter desolation. Many times the enemies of Israel viewed Israel as weak and helpless. But what they failed to understand is that Israel existed in covenant with the true and living God. When we are in covenant with the Living God, He will protect us, defend us, provide for us, go before us.
There will be nothing that will remain for the nobles and the princes. Those who sat in positions of leadership and authority will be brought to nothing. To resist and fight against the Living God is utter foolishness. But it is the fool who says in his heart that there is no God. Often those whose hearts are given over to wickedness believe themselves to be accountable to no one. But in the end God will have the final word. He alone holds the nations of the world in His hands. He alone holds all things together by His mighty power.