Isaiah 11, Part 4: Recovering the Remnant
The Lord restores the nation of Israel, bringing back from dispersion, the Israelites scattered by war and exile.
Isaiah 11:11-12 (ESV) In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isaiah described the recovering of the remnant as "a second time". When was the first time?
Isaiah 11:16 (ESV) There will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.
Pursued by their captors, Israel found themselves with their backs against the sea, facing an Egyptian army six hundred chariots strong. The people despaired their situation, and they cried with regret for attempting to break free of their enslavement. A cloud fell between them and their enemy, dropping darkness on the Egyptian army yet lighting up the night for Israel. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong wind, allowing the people to easily escape. When the Egyptians attempted to follow, a tremendous storm of fire and cloud threw them in a panic, their chariots bogged down in the sand, and the wind reversed, overwhelming the Egyptians in the flood.
Exodus 14:28-29 (ESV) The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Isaiah says the LORD will perform a similar miracle in recovering the remnant of Israelites scattered throughout the world, from Assyria to Egypt, from Mesopotamia to far western regions beyond the sea. Civil strife will end, the nation of Israel will command all of the land once known as Canaan; the sea between Israel and Egypt, and the great river between Assyria and Israel will be easily crossed.
It is important to remember that this hope-filled promise of recovery and restoration comes immediately after the scathing rebuke of Israel's leaders in Chapter 10. The LORD used the Assyrian army to punish and humble the Israelites, but promises them glorious restoration to his favor.