We get a peek at the timeline in this passage, and find that Ahaz has just died as Isaiah writes this, but it’s probably not of Ahaz’s death that Isaiah writes about in verse 29.
The Philistines were probably rejoicing at the death of the Assyrian king who had caused much suffering among them. But Isaiah warned them that although this particular king would no longer cause them grief, their troubles were not at an end. Rather it would only get worse. His son would take over from where his father had left off, and in addition, famine would hit the land. As a result, the Philistines would be wiped out from the earth, and there was no hope for them. On the other hand, the people whom the Philistines had caused much harm to over the years, the Israelites, would find refuge and safety in Zion once more (30, 32).
What can we learn from this? God often brings discipline in our lives in order that we might repent. One of the reasons he sent the Assyrians against the Philistines (and the Israelites, for that matter) was that in their suffering, they might turn from their sins and turn to God. But when the Philistines refused to repent, they were utterly destroyed. The only reason why God spared the Israelites was because of his own promises to Abraham and their forefathers, that their descendants would continue on forever, and that the Messiah would come from their line.
But anyway, the warning Isaiah gave the Philistines of greater judgment is similar to a warning Jesus gave a man he had healed. The man had been lame for 38 years, but Jesus healed him. When Jesus met him later, he told the man, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14)
In other words, “You thought your prior affliction was bad? Don’t just rejoice that you’ve been healed. You have a much deeper problem. Your sin. And unless you repent, something worse will happen to you. Your lameness was a temporary affliction. Hell, on the other hand, is forever.”
What do we do with the warnings of God? Do we ignore them? Or do we heed them?
May you heed the warnings of God that you might find life, and escape the eternal punishment that is to come to those who refuse to repent.