In Isaiah’s day, as in ours, people who are frightened make poor choices. How does God work to counteract this?
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 31” pp. 269-272.
Luther notes that people who are frightened often make bad decisions. The work of the prophet in Isaiah 31 is to call the people to faith and let them find comfort (LW 16, 269). Meanwhile, Isaiah 31:1-2 speaks of the tendency of the kings to form alliances which are based on their own strength and the power of other nations. God’s response to this is to condemn those who do evil against God’s Word (LW 16, 270). Just as the people o f Israel sought to depend on the Egyptians, who were, after all, humans, Luther suggests the same fate will come upon those in his day who rely on man and his activity. True to form, Luther applies this specifically to the Roman church (LW 16, 270).
Isaiah 31:4 and following presents a great promise to God’s people. “The Lord God compares Himself to a lion in protecting His own. For as a lion growls over his prey even in the midst of the shepherds and walks boldly about, so God says; ‘Strong and roaring in the midst of the prey (which you are), I will protect you’” (LW 16, 271). God is prepared to guard his people against anybody who would try to take them captive. Again, in verse 5, God shelters his people with spread wings like a bird. Because of this mighty power of God, the prophet urges the people of Israel to turn to God in hope. The result of God’s activity is that Assyria, the nation which has been threatening Israel, will fall. There will be great destruction and defeat for the nation and their king. God is the one who dwells in Jerusalem. He is ready to protect his people (LW 16, 272).