Journey through Isaiah 29:1-4: Woe, O Ariel, Ariel the city where David once camped
New American Standard Bible 1995
Woe, O Ariel, Ariel the city where David once camped!
Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule.
I will bring distress to Ariel,
And she will be a city of lamenting and mourning;
And she will be like an Ariel to me.
I will camp against you encircling you,
And I will set siegeworks against you,
And I will raise up battle towers against you.
Then you will be brought low;
From the earth you will speak,
And from the dust where you are prostrate
Your words will come.
Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground,
And your speech will whisper from the dust.
Ariel means either lion of God or Altar Hearth. The city of Jerusalem was known as the city of David. It was the city given unto David by the Lord. The land of Israel belonged to God and was given by God to Israel. But sadly instead of properly representing the Lion of Judah, the city instead would become a place of sacrifice. It meant altar hearth because after Assyria came through the blood shed that took place would resemble that of an altar where sacrifices were regularly made. The feasts and festivals of the people became meaningless to the Lord. They merely desired to honor God with their lips and manipulate Him with religious ritual. Sadly, people still try to do this today. Nothing is hidden from the Living God, that includes our true motives and if we truly love Him or not.
Even thought it would be Assyria who would bring grief and mourning upon the city of Jerusalem, it is God who would behind it all. He had spoken through His prophet time and time again calling the people to repentance. But they failed to learn from the mistakes of Northern Israel. They failed to heed the voice of the Lord. Now the only thing that was left for God to do to get their attention was to bring true suffering to the people and to truly turn the city of Jerusalem into an altar hearth.
The Lord would use both the Assyrians in 701 BC and the Babylonians in 586 BC to bring siege works against the city of Jerusalem. The purpose of a siege work was to tear down the protective wall around the city. The issue of the people is they thought the city of Jerusalem was invincible because it was the city of David. But what they failed to understand is that God’s protective hand is what kept them as a people. When they walked in disobedience, they failed to walk according to the ways of the Lord and therefore brought the harsh hand of the Lord upon themselves.
One of the great evils that Israel took part in communicating with the dead. This was strictly forbidden according to the law of God (Lev 19:31, Lev 20:6). The Lord truly humble Jerusalem to the ground. It would be a picture of true crushing that has the purpose of producing humility. They would speak like the voice of the medium who speaks for the dead. It truly shows the length that God would go to get their attention and turn them from their sin. When we reject God and His ways and we continue in sin the Lord must bring correction. He does this because of His love for us. Every time God corrects us, though it is painful for a season, it has a specific purpose.