Isaiah 10 was probably written sometime during the Assyrian invasion of ancient Judah and the siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C. In order to understand the national mood of Judah, compare it with how any modern-day nation has felt as its lands have been overtaken by hostile armies.
It would not be unlike the occupation of France by Germany, the deportation of the Jews to Holocaust camps, the bombing of Iraq, or the genocide in Darfur. Pick any country whose people are displaced, killed, stolen from, suffering famine, or otherwise suffering mistreatment, and you will get the picture.
The temptation is to look at the moment and no further. Doing so results in anguish and hopelessness. “When will the recession end?” “When will I get a job?” When will our hurricane-destroyed homes be rebuilt? You can hear the voices of despair almost anywhere you turn. What do you say at such times?
Isaiah’s words certainly did not cause the immediate resolution of the problems that Judah was facing. On the other hand, they did affirm that something bigger was going on behind the armies and the despair. A king in the style and significance of King David was waiting in the wings.
Isaiah said that the waiting King wouldn’t show favoritism. The poor and meek would be treated with fairness and equity, unlike in the past. In the new order of things opposite things would be seen together–lions lying down with lambs and an infant playing near a snake’s den.
In our world we build bombs to deter violence. In the King’s world there is not even an inclination toward violence. That’s good news.