This is a Bible study on Isaiah 2:22-4:6.

6 pages.

Isaiah 2:22-4:6 - Don’t Align Yourself with Secular Man

Read Isaiah 2:22-4:6.


On the morning of April 12, 1912, a magnificent new luxury liner, christened, Titanic, set sail on its maiden voyage from Liverpool, England; its destination was New York. Titanic represented the culmination of 19th century human progress; the ship offered the ultimate in luxury and comfort, and featured the latest advances in technology and safety. The great ship was advertised as being “unsinkable;” the designer of this great luxury liner boasted, “Not even God could sink Titanic!”

Titanic was more than a great luxury liner; it was really the embodiment of a vision. As Titanic was launched on its maiden voyage in the early years of the 20th century, it really epitomized secular man himself: launching out into the “uncharted waters” of the 20th century, full of optimism, hope, and self-confidence.

On the night of April 14, 1912, somewhere in the dark frigid waters of the North Atlantic, this great luxury liner, Titanic, struck an iceberg, ripping a three-hundred-foot gash in the right side of the hull. At first, the passengers and crew felt there was little cause for alarm; they believed the publicity, and had confidence in the technological ability of man: Titanic was unsinkable. At 2:20 a.m. on the morning of April 15, 1912, the great luxury liner Titanic sank.

Men had put their confidence in Titanic and all it represented: it embodied the epitome of 19th century technology and luxury; it embodied the hopes of secular man for the 20th century; but in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, Titanic went down to the ocean floor.

In Isaiah 2:22 the Word of God exhorts us, “Stop looking to man!” That is to say, don’t put your confidence in man; don’t adopt his thinking and outlook; don’t follow his agenda; don’t identify yourself with his kingdom. In a word, Don’t Align Yourself with Man.

This present passage of Scripture alerts us to the fact that even those who identify themselves as God’s people may in actuality be aligning themselves with man rather than with God. As Christians, we must consciously align ourselves with the LORD in our thinking and conduct, not with secular mankind.

Don’t Align Yourself with Man, because Man Cannot Withstand God🔗

Isaiah 2:22 exhorts us, “Stop looking to man.” The verse proceeds to describe man as the one “whose breath is in his nostrils,” and then asks the question, “For how much does he count?” We are being reminded here that man is frail and transitory—his life is dependent upon his breath, and his breath is dependent upon God. Note Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Note, too, Genesis 6:13, 7:21-22,

Then God said to Noah, I have determined to bring all mankind to an end, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; surely, I will destroy them together with the earth... 21Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.

Modern medical technology may give us the illusion of immortality, but the fact is that life and death are ultimately in the hands of God. Thus, the exhortation of Scripture is that we “stop looking to man;” i.e. that we not put our confidence in man, and that we not align ourselves with man in his thinking, his hopes, and the building of his secular kingdom.

In Isaiah 3:1 the prophet announces that the LORD of hosts is about to remove the nation’s “supply and support.” The Hebrew term, מִשׁעְןָ, (from the root word שָׁע ןַ, meaning, “to lean upon,” or “to rely upon”), is repeated here in two different forms; the point being made is that the LORD of hosts is about to remove everything that contributes to the making of a secure and stable society.

The LORD’s dismantling of the society is outlined for us in verses 1b-3. He is about to take away “the whole supply of bread, and the whole supply of water” (vs. 1b). The LORD is able do so by means of drought and other natural calamities; or, He can allow man himself to do so by means of the foolish and greedy misuse of the natural resources and the abuse of the environment.

Verses 2-3 describe how the nation is about to be deprived of its stable government. The LORD is going to remove “the judge, the prophet, the soothsayer, the elder;” the civil and religious leaders, the spiritual and moral conscience of the nation. He will do so, because, as the inclusion of “the soothsayer” indicates, the nation has become spiritually and morally corrupt. The LORD is going to remove “the captain of fifty,” i.e. the forces responsible for internal law and order. He is going to remove “the expert craftsman;” this speaks of a deterioration in the quality of craftsmanship and pride in workmanship as the conscience and the spirit of the nation decline.

As verse four reports, once the nation has been stripped of its experienced and venerated leadership, the LORD will “make boys [or, youths] to be their officials;” i.e. those who lack experience and maturity, wisdom and discernment. Then “mere children will govern them.” What is described here is a capricious rule; an aimless, selfish, arbitrary, unpredictable rule, for such are childish ways. The nation becomes like a rudderless ship driven about by the winds and whims of self-seeking and self-gratifying men, men who have little experience in governing, and even less concern for the welfare of the society.

What effect will all this have upon the life of the nation? The result will be oppression, “the people will oppress each other—man against man, neighbor against neighbor” (vs. 5a). There will no longer be any sense of community. Furthermore, insolent behavior will become characteristic of the society: “the youth will treat the elderly with disrespect and the ignoble [or, the base fellow; the man who is morally worthless] will be disrespectful towards the honorable man (vs. 5b).

Isaiah 3:18-4:1 goes on to speak about the devastating effects of war, which the LORD will bring upon the once secure and stable society; this society that has departed from Him and become secular. Prosperity is replaced by the awful ravages of war.

What Isaiah describes in 3:24 is poverty: “instead of a sash [a feature of glamorous apparel], they will use a rope;” humiliation: “instead of a beautiful hairdo, there will be baldness;” mourning: “instead of fine clothing, they will wear sackcloth;” and enslavement: “instead of beauty, there will be branding” (the mark of slavery). In chapter four he adds destitution: “seven women will take hold of one man, saying, ‘We will eat our own food and provide our own clothing [i.e. we will support ourselves], only allow us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!’” These women have lost their families because of the war and now suffer the fate of solitary widowhood.

Let us not align ourselves with man: placing our confidence in him; adopting his thinking; entertaining his secular hopes and dreams; promoting his secular agenda; identifying ourselves with his secular kingdom; because he cannot withstand God, the LORD of hosts. The picture presented to us in this passage is that of the LORD rising in righteous judgment against a nation that has forsaken Him and given itself over to secularism, and that nation is powerless to withstand the LORD’s righteous assault against it. (Note: Secularism is the ultimate form of idolatry; it is the attempt to replace God with man, making man the center of life and the highest object of veneration.)

Don’t Align Yourself with Man, because His Ways will be Judged by God🔗

Isaiah 3:8 explains that the city/nation is ruined “because their words [i.e. their speech, the ideas they express] and their deeds are in opposition to the LORD, provoking the eyes of his glory.” By way of example, if you were to remove the Ten Commandments from the walls of public-school buildings for fear that someone might read them and decide to obey them, would such thinking not incite the LORD to righteous indignation, would such an act not “provoke the eyes of his glory”? Yet, this is precisely what has taken place in the United States:

According to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Stone v. Graham, 'If posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps venerate and obey the commandments; this is not a permissible objective.'1

In verse nine, the prophet Isaiah personifies the nation in its present moral and spiritual state: “The look on their faces testifies against them.” In other words, their expression of defiance testifies to the truth presented in verse eight. Theirs is not an ignorance of the law of God, rather it is a conscious rejection of it and hostility against it. “They display their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it.” When there is still some remnant of the fear of God, men seek to conceal their sins out of a sense of shame and guilt. But described here is a people who have become so steeped in sin and so defiant of God that, like Sodom, they practice their sins openly without any trace of guilt or shame. “Woe to them! They have brought calamity upon themselves.” We may take note of the testimony of the wisdom of God as recorded in Proverbs 8:36; “whoever sins against me harms his own soul; all who hate me love death.”

In verses 12-15 the society that has departed from God is described as being characterized by misrule both by its governmental as well as its religious leaders. The political leaders are described as “oppressors” who act like self-centered, malicious, thoughtless children. The leaders point the people in a godless direction and conceal, or destroy, the former pathways of godliness: “those who lead you cause you to go astray and they destroy [or, swallow up] the way [in which you should go] (vs. 12b).

Verses 16-23 depict the vanity, conceit, and superficiality of this society as it is especially exemplified in the lifestyle of its women. “The daughters of Zion are arrogant;” they are proud, vain, conceited. They “walk around with heads held high,” (here is an outward display of their arrogance), “and seductive eyes,” in their haughtiness they disregard God’s commandments relating to moral purity. They “go about with mincing steps as ornaments jingle from their ankles,” they walk with short, dainty steps so as to emphasize their sophistication. Verses 18-23 describe an incredible amount of ornate and superficial beauty. What is described here is in striking contrast to the admonition of 1 Peter 3:3­ 4,

May [your beauty] not [merely] be the external beauty of having elaborately braided hair and wearing gold jewelry or dressing in exquisite garments; 4rather, may it be the inner beauty of the heart, consisting in the imperishable beauty of a humble and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

Let us not align ourselves with man—imitating his ways as he defies the LORD, and as he exhibits a lifestyle of arrogance and pride—because his ways will be judged by God.

Don’t Align Yourself with Man, Look, rather, to the Kingdom of God🔗

Isaiah 4:2 depicts the nation of Israel, (as it has identified itself with the secular society of man and become such a society itself), as a tree that has been chopped down. But from that stump the LORD causes there to sprout up the branch (or, shoot) of a new creation; a branch that becomes spiritually beautiful and glorious. In that verse we read: “On that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.”

What is depicted here is the kingdom of God as it shall be inherited by those who are redeemed by the cleansing blood of Christ and the purifying work of the Holy Spirit, (who is here identified as “the Spirit of judgment” and “the Spirit of fire”), following upon the Final Judgment of this present world. Here is an Old Testament picture of the promise presented in Revelation 11:15, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he will reign forever and ever.”

Verses 5-6 now describe the LORD and His redeemed and what their life will be like together.

First, there shall be the experience of the LORD’s own wonderful presence: “Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion, and over those who assemble there, a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night” (vs. 5a). Here is a visible manifestation of the LORD’s presence, reminiscent of the way He manifested Himself at the time of the Exodus: “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud...and by night in a pillar of fire” (Ex. 13:21).

Second, there shall be the experience of the LORD’s divine glory: “over everything the glory [will be spread as] a covering” (vs. 5b).

Third, depicted in Old Testament terms, there shall be the experience of the LORD’s care: “There will be a shelter to provide shade from the heat of the day, and to be a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain” (vs. 6).

Let us not align ourselves with man—joining his cause of building a secular society with man at the center to the exclusion of God; rather, let us look to the kingdom of God. Let us be conscious of our Christian identity as citizens of the kingdom of God. Let us not be ashamed to allow our allegiance to Christ our Lord be made known. Let us pray for the coming of God’s kingdom even as we are instructed to do in the Lord’s Prayer.


Let us not be like Old Testament Israel who identified themselves as the people of God, but had become thoroughly secular in their outlook and behavior, and incurred the LORD’s judgment because of it. Let us be sure to align ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and let us seek to be consciously and consistently Christian (Christ-like) in our thinking and conduct.

Discussion Questions🔗

  1. What commandment does the LORD give to His people, and what does it mean? See Isa. 2:22. Why might the covenant people need to be exhorted to reject man-centered, secular humanism? As a Christian, have you adopted secularist views on such topics as abortion, homosexuality, or “social justice” (as opposed to the biblical definition of justice as equality before the law)? Do you tend to put your confidence in man-centered government rather than in the LORD God?

Stop [looking] to man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for how much does he count? Isa. 2:22

  1. How does the LORD describe mankind, and how does He view man? See Isa. 2:22b; note Gen. 2:7/Gen. 3:19b. Does secular man, (epitomized in the Babylonian empire), acknowledge his frailty and utter dependence upon God? Note Isa. 47:10b. What does the Apostle James say about such an arrogant, self-confident attitude? See Jas. 4:13-14. As Christians, what attitude and perspective should we have? See Jas. 4:15,

Stop [looking] to man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for how much does he count? Isa. 2:22

And the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Gen. 2:7

...dust you are, and unto dust shall you return. Gen. 3:19b

You have trusted in your wickedness. You have said, No one sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge have deluded you, [causing] you to say in your heart, I am, and there is none besides me.Isa. 47:10

Sinful man in his arrogance, entertains a God-like opinion of himself.

Come now, you who say, 'Today, or tomorrow, we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;' 14whereas you do not know what [will happen] tomorrow. For what is your life? It is just a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Jas. 4:13-14

Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'Jas. 4:15

  1. What accusation does the LORD bring against the covenant nation? See Isa. 3:8b. Does this indicate that the people of God had allowed themselves to become secular, adopting the worldview of sinful mankind and conducting themselves according to his God-defying standards? Note Isa. 5:21, 24b. To what extent is this true of the Church today? To what extent is it true of your own life?

...their words and their deeds are in opposition to the LORD, provoking the eyes of his glory. Isa. 3:8b

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! ... 24... they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Isa. 5:21, 24b

  1. In consequence of what the covenant nation has become, what is the LORD about to do? See Isa. 3:1. What elements of society are mentioned for removal in Isa. 3:2-3? What is the consequence? See Isa. 3:5; note, also, vs. 12. Are we witnessing the same collapse of our own society today? Must we confess that what the LORD says about Israel in Isaiah’s day is also true of the Western world today? See Isa. 3:9. As Christians, what should characterize our lives, and what assurance are we given? See Isa. 3:10,

See now, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, is about to take away from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support; the whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water. Isa. 3:1

The terms “supply and support” are derived from the same Hebrew root word, meaning “to rely upon;” thus, the LORD is about to remove everything that makes for a stable, secure society; everything upon which Israel, like secular mankind, is relying.

[He is about to remove] the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the soothsayer and the elder, 3the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the expert craftsman and the skillful enchanter. Isa. 3:2-3

5The people will oppress each other—man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The youth will treat the elderly with disrespect and the ignoble [will be disrespectful] towards the honorable man... 12O my people! Youths are their oppressors and women rule over them. O my people, those who lead you cause you to go astray and they destroy the way [in which you should go]. Isa. 3:5, 12

The look on their faces testifies against them; they display their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought calamity upon themselves.Isa. 3:9

The look on their faces testifies of stubborn defiance of God and His moral standard.

Tell the righteous that it will be well with them, they shall enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Isa. 3:10

  1. In contrast to the secular society of man, which collapses before the judgment of God, Isaiah 4:5­-6 presents the kingdom of God, the inheritance of the redeemed. What blessing is portrayed by the imagery of Isa. 4:5? Note Ex. 13:21. What wonderful feature of the kingdom is portrayed in Isa. 4:5b? Note 2 Thess. 2:14. How is the LORD’s protective care described in Isa. 4:6? Does that protective care only pertain to the kingdom to come? As Christians, for what are we instructed to pray? See Matt. 6:9-10,

Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion, and over those who assemble there, a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; for over everything the glory [will be spread] as a covering. 6There will be a shelter to provide shade from the heat of the day, and to be a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Isa. 4:5-6

And the LORD went before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them along the way and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night. Ex. 13:21

The imagery of Isa. 4:5 is calling to mind the Exodus, at which time the LORD was visibly present with His people—that divine and visible presence of God in the midst of His people will be the characteristic of the kingdom of heaven.

[God] called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 2:14

The redeemed of the LORD shall not only behold their Lord’s glory, but shall share in it.

Jesus instructs us as His disciples to pray in this manner:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.10Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:9-10


  1. ^ David T. Moore, Five Lies of the Century, (Wheaton IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 1995), 27-28.

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