2102.) Isaiah 18

May 23, 2017
I love the description of the Ethiopian people: "a nation tall and smooth."

I love the description of the Ethiopian people: “a nation tall and smooth.”

Isaiah 18   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Cush

In the days of Isaiah, Ethiopia (Cush/the greater Nile Valley, including present day Egypt, Ethiopia, and Somalia) was a major world power, ruling Egypt and a chief rival to Assyria. Since Judah was caught in the geographical middle of this conflict, it might make sense for Judah to align herself with Ethiopia against Assyria. But no — King Hezekiah was explicitly warned against looking to Egypt for help.

Ah, land of whirring wings

Oh, the many flying bugs of the Nile!

that is beyond the rivers of Cush,
which sends ambassadors by the sea,
in vessels of papyrus on the waters!
Go, you swift messengers,
to a nation tall and smooth,
to a people feared near and far,
a nation mighty and conquering,
whose land the rivers divide.

Ambassadors from Cush ask for news:  that Judah would align with them against Assyria.

All you inhabitants of the world,
you who dwell on the earth,
when a signal is raised on the mountains, look!
When a trumpet is blown, hear!
For thus the Lord said to me:
“I will quietly look from my dwelling
like clear heat in sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

The Lord refuses the offer from Africa; he is perfectly able to defend Jerusalem without their help.

For before the harvest, when the blossom is over,
and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks,
and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away.
They shall all of them be left
to the birds of prey of the mountains
and to the beasts of the earth.
And the birds of prey will summer on them,
and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.

At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts

from a people tall and smooth,
from a people feared near and far,
a nation mighty and conquering,
whose land the rivers divide,

to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts.

Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem

Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem

Instead of Israelite messengers bringing news to Ethiopia of an alliance against the Assyria, the day will come when Ethiopians will come and worship at Mount Zion.

This may have been fulfilled in some way close to Isaiah’s time. But we know it was fulfilled in Acts 8:26-40, when an Ethiopian came to worship the Lord at Jerusalem, and then trusted in Jesus at the preaching of Philip. It was also fulfilled in the strong Ethiopian church the first few centuries, and the enduring Ethiopian church today.

–David Guzik

Ethiopian processional cross. Ethiopian crosses are unique among Christian art for their variety of form. If you click  HERE  to see Google images for “Ethiopian processional crosses,” you will marvel at the loveliness I am referring to!

_________________________

Music:

Since we are talking about Ethiopians coming to Jerusalem, I thought of Psalm 122 (“Our feet have stood within thy gates, O Jerusalem!”) — and found it as a song with an African inspiration!  Click  HERE  to enjoy Bill Monaghan’s version of Psalm 122, “inspired by the people of Ibanda, Uganda at St. Charles Lwanga Bubaare Parish and their joyful version of “Mkate Wetu, ” even down to the echos and hand claps!”

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord — may this be how we live our lives!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Ethiopian people.    http://www.hotelclub.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/ethiopian-people.jpg
map of Cush.    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Africa_in_400_BC.jpg
Mount Zion.    http://www.veredgo.com/ckfiles/images/Dormition%20Abbey.jpg
cross.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/Ethiopian_-_Processional_Cross_-_Walters_542942_-_Side_A.jpg

2101.) Isaiah 17

May 22, 2017
Syria Violence Rages as Fierce Fighting Engulfs Damascus -- July 16, 2012.

Syria Violence Rages as Fierce Fighting Engulfs Damascus — July 16, 2012.

Isaiah 17   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Damascus

An oracle concerning Damascus.

Damascus was one of the great cities of the ancient world, and the capital of the ancient nation of Syria.  For centuries it has been  a commercial and political hub in the Fertile Crescent.  Damascus was destroyed by  the Assyrian invaders in 732 BCE, and Samaria (Ephraim) fell ten years later.

Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city
and will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer are deserted;
they will be for flocks,
which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,
and the kingdom from Damascus;
and the remnant of Syria will be
like the glory of the children of Israel,
declares the Lord of hosts.

And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.
And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain
and his arm harvests the ears,
and as when one gleans the ears of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.
Gleanings will be left in it,
as when an olive tree is beaten—
two or three berries
in the top of the highest bough,
four or five
on the branches of a fruit tree,
declares the Lord God of Israel.

In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

The faithful remnant look humbly to their Creator.

In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;

Here the prophet names the true source of their trouble:  they have forsaken the covenant of their God.  Such a choice has consequences.

therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
11 though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,
and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
yet the harvest will flee away
in a day of grief and incurable pain.

One aspect of the Lord’s judgment against Israel will be to bring their hard work to nothing. They will work hard to plant and grow crops (both literally and figuratively), but the harvest will be a heap of ruins.

This can be one of the most devastating aspects of the Lord’s judgment. Haggai 1:6 speaks of this work of the Lord: You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes. How much better it is to be listening to Jesus, and to have our service directed and blessed by Him (Luke 5:1-10).

–David Guzik

12 Ah, the thunder of many peoples;
they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
Ah, the roar of nations;
they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!
13 The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,
but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,
chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind
and whirling dust before the storm.
14 At evening time, behold, terror!
Before morning, they are no more!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
and the lot of those who plunder us.

These last two verses show a comforting principle:  that God will allow trouble only as long as he wishes, then he will rebuke it.  “Weeping will endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” We are not at the mercy of our circumstances or of our enemies.  We are at the mercy of God.

_________________________

Music:

Of course, Damascus is in Syria, and how often we have prayed for the terrible situation in Syria! Such carnage! Bombs and chemical weapons and so many lives lost. I ache for the mothers in Syria, not knowing where the men of their family are, or even if they are dead or alive, raising children in refugee tents in the desert. How can we not weep?

Speaking of children — Today is the 27th birthday of our youngest child. Devlin has just completed his MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary, and in the fall he will return to PTS to start on his Ph.D. in New Testament. We are so proud of him and so grateful to the Lord! We praise the God of our salvation and the rock of our refuge (see verse 10), who has promised never to leave us or forsake us or our children, be they in Syria (Oh, Lord, draw near to them!) or in New Jersey!

Take to heart this song — “Your Grace Is Enough,” written and sung  HERE  by Matt Maher, a Roman Catholic contemporary worship artist.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
embattled Damascus.   http://images2.naharnet.com/images/45433/w460.jpg?1342443521
verse 7.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/39/8c/c8/398cc8fba7644c9bfb77bc2c6d67d9d8.jpg
rock of refuge.    http://www.thehopefilledroad.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/rock-of-refuge-768×1024.jpg

2100.) Isaiah 16

May 19, 2017

The land that was Moab is now part of Jordan. This view is looking eastward to it, across the Dead Sea.

Isaiah 16   (ESV)

Isaiah continues his prophecy of the destruction of Moab.

Send the lamb to the ruler of the land,
from Sela, by way of the desert,
to the mount of the daughter of Zion.

Originally developed at the crossroads of overland trading routes, Petra developed as the capital of the Nabatean Empire (c. 400 B.C.E. to 106 C.E.).

Sela is Petra, Edom’s capital, not far from Moab.

Like fleeing birds,
like a scattered nest,
so are the daughters of Moab
at the fords of the Arnon.

“Give counsel;
grant justice;
make your shade like night
at the height of noon;
shelter the outcasts;
do not reveal the fugitive;
let the outcasts of Moab
sojourn among you;
be a shelter to them
from the destroyer.
When the oppressor is no more,
and destruction has ceased,
and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,
then a throne will be established in steadfast love,
and on it will sit in faithfulness
in the tent of David
one who judges and seeks justice
and is swift to do righteousness.”

Here Is Isaiah preaching salvation to the Gentiles!

I16 Annunciation

Luke 1:30-33   (NLT)

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

We have heard of the pride of Moab—
how proud he is!—
of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence;
in his idle boasting he is not right.
Therefore let Moab wail for Moab,
let everyone wail.
Mourn, utterly stricken,
for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth.

Once they were proud — now they are utterly devastated. No vines means no more wine, no more raisins.

For the fields of Heshbon languish,
and the vine of Sibmah;
the lords of the nations
have struck down its branches,
which reached to Jazer
and strayed to the desert;
its shoots spread abroad
and passed over the sea.
Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer
for the vine of Sibmah;
I drench you with my tears,
O Heshbon and Elealeh;
for over your summer fruit and your harvest
the shout has ceased.
10 And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field,
and in the vineyards no songs are sung,
no cheers are raised;
no treader treads out wine in the presses;
I have put an end to the shouting.
11 Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab,
and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth.

The entire agricultural infrastructure will be destroyed.

12 And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.

It seems to be too late even for prayers.  God says the time of judgment is sure to come.

13 This is the word that the Lord spoke concerning Moab in the past. 14 But now the Lord has spoken, saying, “In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble.”

The days of prosperity and power in the land of Moab will be a thing of history, never to return.

_________________________

Music:

From verse 5 —

. . . a throne will be established in steadfast love,
and on it will sit in faithfulness
in the tent of David
one who judges and seeks justice
and is swift to do righteousness.

Worship as you listen  HERE:  “To Him Who Sits on the Throne.”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
 view of Moab.   https://thelonghaulwithisaiah.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/moab-01.jpg
Petra.   http://geography.name/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2321.jpg
Angel comes to Mary.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/bible-images/hires/Luke-Chapter-1-The-Annunciation-to-Mary.jpg
the end is near.   https://img.clipartfest.com/ce93c208af646a4604bbd5e0730f784c_holding-a-the-end-is-near-the-end-is-near-clipart_581-600.jpeg

2099.) Isaiah 15

May 18, 2017

Isaiah 15   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Moab

What this chapter and the next bring us is a prophetic pronouncement of the virtual destruction of the culture and existence of the Moabite nation.

An oracle concerning Moab.

Lot and his daughters, by Peter Paul Rubens

The founder of the people of Moab was the son born of the incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters, when his daughters made Lot drunk, after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38). The Moabites settled in the plains to the south-east of Israel, in what is modern-day Jordan.

At times, the Moabites were great enemies of Israel. It was the Balak, king of Moab, who hired Balaam the prophet, hoping that he could curse Israel (Numbers 22-25). It was Eglon, king of Moab, who oppressed Israel in the days of the Judges (Judges 3:12-30). During the time of Saul and David, Israel established a firm control over Moab, but later kings were not always able to keep them under Israelite dominance.

At the same time, there was a Moabite connection with Israel. First, they were related to Israel because Lot was Abraham’s nephew. Because of this, God told Israel in Deuteronomy 2:9 that they were not to destroy Moab and take their land. As well, David, Israel’s greatest king, was one-quarter Moabite. His paternal grandmother Ruth was from Moab, and David entrusted his father and mother to the protection of the king of Moab when he was a fugitive from Saul (1 Samuel 22:3-4). For these reasons, there is a great deal of sadness and empathy on Isaiah’s part as he describes the coming judgment on Moab.

–David Guzik

Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night,
Moab is undone;
because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night,
Moab is undone.

Ar and Kir were two strongly fortified cities in Moab.

“In a night!” It is the biblical parallel of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was too sudden and too completely devastating not to leave the handful of survivors in shock. The nation of Moab went to bed one night with wives, families, children, jobs and ambitions for the future, together with life’s agendas for tomorrow. By the following morning the world was different. Bodies, blood, death, and the normal sensibilities of any survivors blown away.

–Keith Lannon

He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon,
to the high places to weep;
over Nebo and over Medeba
Moab wails.
On every head is baldness;
every beard is shorn;
in the streets they wear sackcloth;
on the housetops and in the squares
everyone wails and melts in tears.

The customs of mourning included cutting the hair, shaving, wearing sackcloth, and weeping and wailing.

Heshbon and Elealeh cry out;
their voice is heard as far as Jahaz;
therefore the armed men of Moab cry aloud;
his soul trembles.
My heart cries out for Moab;
her fugitives flee to Zoar,
to Eglath-shelishiyah.
For at the ascent of Luhith
they go up weeping;
on the road to Horonaim
they raise a cry of destruction;
the waters of Nimrim
are a desolation;
the grass is withered, the vegetation fails,
the greenery is no more.

The beautiful plains of Moab were wonderful grazing land. But now, under the hand of God’s judgment, the grass and vegetation are gone.

Therefore the abundance they have gained
and what they have laid up
they carry away
over the Brook of the Willows.
For a cry has gone
around the land of Moab;
her wailing reaches to Eglaim;
her wailing reaches to Beer-elim.
For the waters of Dibon are full of blood;
for I will bring upon Dibon even more,
a lion for those of Moab who escape,
for the remnant of the land.

Even those who escape will be tracked down as by a lion.

ruins of Moab

ruins of Moab

 _________________________

Music:

HERE  is a song to sing whenever you are searching for the right words to pray.
Bless the Lord, my soul,
And bless God’s holy name;
Bless the Lord, my soul,
Who leads me into life.
_________________________
English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
map.   https://thelonghaulwithisaiah.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/moab-0.jpg
Rubens.    http://www.artnet.com/WebServices/images/ll00012lldOpMJFgPNECiCfDrCWvaHBOcZC5E/peter-paul-rubens-lot-and-his-daughters.jpg
Balak and Balaam.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/balaam_2.jpg
Ruth and Boaz.   http://voiceindesert.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Ruth_Boaz-2.jpg
ruins of Moab.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/ruinsofmoab.jpg
Bless the Lord.   http://68.media.tumblr.com/2f561c33cfc1a5d3d9d85247a99a5d2a/tumblr_mj2koej2K21qg4xgso1_1280.jpg

2098.) Isaiah 14

May 17, 2017

I14 24

Isaiah 14   (ESV)

The Restoration of Jacob

Isaiah 13 ended with the desolation and gloom that would come upon Babylon. Since Babylon was Judah’s great enemy, any judgment on Babylon was an expression of mercy on Israel. So, Isaiah follows the pronouncement of judgment on Babylon with the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel.

–David Guzik

This is not simply a promise of temporal deliverance. This is an assurance that the preservation of the chosen people is the means for the fulfillment of God’s purposes of mercy to all mankind. Israel is given a song of triumph over their oppressor. Even the trees of the forest sing!

–N. E. Constance

For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

Israel’s Remnant Taunts Babylon

When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

“How the oppressor has ceased,
the insolent fury ceased!
The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of rulers,
that struck the peoples in wrath
with unceasing blows,
that ruled the nations in anger
with unrelenting persecution.
The whole earth is at rest and quiet;
they break forth into singing.
8 The cypresses rejoice at you,
the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
‘Since you were laid low,
no woodcutter comes up against us.’



Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come;
it rouses the shades to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations.

Sheol is the place of departed spirits. It can means the “grave” or “the place of torment.” The prophet pictures the unseen world as disturbed at the arrival of the fallen tyrant, the king of Babylon. He is met by other kings already there, amazed that one so great and powerful would arrive at the same destination and in death be deprived of a decent burial. Before they had flattered him as a mighty lord; now they mock him.

–N. E. Constance

10 All of them will answer
and say to you:
‘You too have become as weak as we!
You have become like us!’
11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,
the sound of your harps;
maggots are laid as a bed beneath you,
and worms are your covers.

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!

I14 me

The pride, the grasping selfish ambition, the self-will of the king of Babylon is powerfully expressed in five “I will” statements. This is the essence of the self-focused and self-obsessed life:

13 You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.
16 Those who see you will stare at you
and ponder over you:
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
who shook kingdoms,
17 who made the world like a desert
and overthrew its cities,
who did not let his prisoners go home?’

I14 Ozymandias
Ozymandias

by Percy Bisshe Shelley (1792-1822)

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

18 All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
each in his own tomb;
19 but you are cast out, away from your grave,
like a loathed branch,
clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword,
who go down to the stones of the pit,
like a dead body trampled underfoot.
20 You will not be joined with them in burial,
because you have destroyed your land,
you have slain your people.

“May the offspring of evildoers
nevermore be named!
21 Prepare slaughter for his sons
because of the guilt of their fathers,
lest they rise and possess the earth,
and fill the face of the world with cities.”

22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the Lord. 23 “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.

An Oracle Concerning Assyria

I14 purposed

24 The Lord of hosts has sworn:
“As I have planned,
so shall it be,
and as I have purposed,
so shall it stand,
25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land,
and on my mountains trample him underfoot;
and his yoke shall depart from them,
and his burden from their shoulder.”

26 This is the purpose that is purposed
concerning the whole earth,
and this is the hand that is stretched out
over all the nations.
27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
and who will turn it back?

I14 control

My mother used to say, “There is nothing that comes to pass but that which He has purposed, and everything He has purposed comes to pass.”

An Oracle Concerning Philistia

28 In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle:

29 Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you,
that the rod that struck you is broken,
for from the serpent’s root will come forth an adder,
and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.
30 And the firstborn of the poor will graze,
and the needy lie down in safety;
but I will kill your root with famine,
and your remnant it will slay.
31 Wail, O gate; cry out, O city;
melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you!
For smoke comes out of the north,
and there is no straggler in his ranks.

32 What will one answer the messengers of the nation?
“The Lord has founded Zion,
and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”

_________________________

Music:

An oldie but goodie — Maranatha Singers and “He Is Exalted/Great Is the Lord.”  Click  HERE  to hear it and praise the Lord!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
YHWH Almighty.    http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7238/6965317080_c8707a234d_z.jpg
Psalm 96.    https://bible.faithlife.com/bible/images/640×480/Ps96.11-12?extension=png&fallbackOnFailure=false
It’s all about me.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/il_fullxfull-74850331.jpg
Ozymandias.   http://junecaldwell.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/ozymandias13.jpg
Isaiah 14:24.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/isaiah14-24.jpg
God is in control.    http://thomasdirk.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/god-is-in-control.jpg

2097.) Isaiah 13

May 16, 2017
Isaiah's Vision of the Destruction of Babylon, by G. Dore.

Isaiah’s Vision of the Destruction of Babylon, by G. Dore.

Isaiah 13   (ESV)

This is the beginning of a new section of the book. Isaiah chapters 13 – 23 contain prophecies against the nations. It is fitting for cleansing to begin at the house of God, so the Lord has first spoken to Israel and Judah, condemning their sins and outlining his judgment against them. But now the Lord speaks against the nations, beginning with Babylon.

The Judgment of Babylon

The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

Why is God speaking to Babylon? This prophecy was probably never published in Babylon, so it wasn’t really given as a warning to them. Instead, the reason was for the help of the people of God. First, by showing them that God was indeed just, and would judge the wicked nations around them. Israel and Judah were feeling the sting of God’s discipline, and in those times we wonder if God is unfairly singling us out. This is assurance to them that He isn’t. Second, Babylon (and other nations in this section) were nations that had come against Israel and Judah, and God showed His love to His people by announcing His vengeance against their enemies.

–David Guzik

On a bare hill raise a signal;
cry aloud to them;
wave the hand for them to enter
the gates of the nobles.
I myself have commanded my consecrated ones,
and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger,
my proudly exulting ones.

The sound of a tumult is on the mountains
as of a great multitude!
The sound of an uproar of kingdoms,
of nations gathering together!
The Lord of hosts is mustering
a host for battle.
They come from a distant land,
from the end of the heavens,
the Lord and the weapons of his indignation,
to destroy the whole land.

Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;
as destruction from the Almighty it will come!


Therefore all hands will be feeble,
and every human heart will melt.
They will be dismayed:
pangs and agony will seize them;
they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at one another;
their faces will be aflame.

Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
and to destroy its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
will not give their light;
the sun will be dark at its rising,
and the moon will not shed its light.

I13 end

Jesus quoted from verse 10 as he spoke to his disciples about the future:

Mark 13:24-25   (NIV)

“But in those days, following that distress,

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”

11 I will punish the world for its evil,
and the wicked for their iniquity;
I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant,
and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.
12 I will make people more rare than fine gold,
and mankind than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
and the earth will be shaken out of its place,
at the wrath of the Lord of hosts
in the day of his fierce anger.
14 And like a hunted gazelle,
or like sheep with none to gather them,
each will turn to his own people,
and each will flee to his own land.
15 Whoever is found will be thrust through,
and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.
16 Their infants will be dashed in pieces
before their eyes;
their houses will be plundered
and their wives ravished.

17 Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them,

“In 539 BC, the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of the Medes and the Persians, with an unprecedented military engagement known as the Battle of Opis. The famed walls of Babylon were indeed impenetrable, with the only way into the city through one of its many gates or through the Euphrates, which ebbed beneath its thick walls. Metal gates at the river’s in-flow and out-flow prevented underwater intruders, if one could hold one’s breath to reach them. Cyrus (or his generals) devised a plan to use the Euphrates as the mode of entry to the city, ordering large camps of troops at each point and instructing them to wait for the signal. On an evening of a national feast among Babylonians (generally thought to refer to the feast of Belshazzar mentioned in Daniel V), Cyrus’ troops diverted the Euphrates river upstream, causing the Euphrates to drop to about ‘mid thigh level on a man’ or to dry up altogether. The soldiers marched under the walls through the lowered water. The Persian Army conquered the outlying areas of the city’s interior while a majority of Babylonians at the city center were oblivious to the breach. The account was elaborated upon by Herodotus, and is also mentioned by passages in the Hebrew Bible.”

–Wikipedia

who have no regard for silver
and do not delight in gold.
18 Their bows will slaughter the young men;
they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb;
their eyes will not pity children.
19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans,

I13 gardens

The Hanging Gardens  — one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, in the city of Babylon. “In addition to its size,” wrote Herodotus, a Greek historian in 450 BC, “Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.”

Legends says that the Gardens were built by King Nebuchadnezzar so that the queen, his wife, would have a lovely, private, terraced garden to enjoy and to remind her of the landscape of her childhood home. 

will be like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God overthrew them.
20 It will never be inhabited
or lived in for all generations;
no Arab will pitch his tent there;
no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there.
21 But wild animals will lie down there,
and their houses will be full of howling creatures;
there ostriches will dwell,
and there wild goats will dance.
22 Hyenas will cry in its towers,
and jackals in the pleasant palaces;
its time is close at hand
and its days will not be prolonged.

I13 Ishtar Gate

Babylon was a great city that was never rebuilt.

In the Pergamon Museum in Berlin there is a reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate, the eighth gate into the inner city of Babylon.  It is built from materials excavated from a dig in the ancient city in the early part of the twentieth century.  It is stunning — 47 feet high and 100 feet wide.  I saw it when I was 17; I was a foreign exchange student in Germany for the summer and I took a day tour into East Berlin to see the museum.

_________________________

Music:

The judgment is severe, the devastation is far-reaching — but we who know the truth of God — that He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son — need not fear. We can rest in “The Mercy of God,”  sung  HERE  by Geoff Bullock

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Dore.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/bible-images/hires/Isaiah-Chapter-13-Isaiahs-Vision-of-the-Destruction-of-Babylon.jpg
map of Babylon.   http://www.jesuswalk.com/isaiah/maps/babylon-1200x831x300.jpg
The Day of the Lord.    http://beforeitsnews.com/contributor/upload/104465/images/de%20Dag%20des%20Heren.jpg
falling stars.    http://heavenawaits.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/early-earth-ocean-moon-asteroids-art-desk-1024.jpg
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, by Lars Rune.    http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2009/356/0/3/The_Hanging_Gardens_of_Babylon_by_LarsRune.jpg
Ishtar Gate.   http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m9ftw943BP1retgeoo1_1280.jpg

2096.) Isaiah 12

May 15, 2017

Isaiah 12   (ESV)

Isaiah chapter 11 spoke powerfully of the reign of the Messiah as king over all the earth. This brief chapter of praise comes from the heart of the one who has surrendered to the Messiah as king, and enjoys the benefits of the Lord’s reign.

–David Guzik

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”

A wonderful thought to remember often during each day!

Psalm 118:14   (ESV)

The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.

Exodus 15:2 (NASB)

The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

I12 well

John 4:13-14  (NIV)

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

This gives two reasons for great praise. First, because of who God is: the Holy One of Israel. Second, because of where God is: in your midst — Immanuel, God with us. Each of these gives everyone reason to praise God!

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

The chapter instructs us to “Sing praises . . . shout, and sing for joy,” for God is with us.  We can gladly obey with this rendition of “Joy to the World.”  Click  HERE  to hear Pentatonix sing Isaac Watts’ hymn.

_________________________

Images courtesy of:
The Lord is my strength and my song.   https://www.pktfuel.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/tumblr_mk24i53Q8q1rj3ommo1_1280.jpg
Romans 5:1.   http://worshiphousemedia.s3.amazonaws.com/images/main/s/mo/8t8/mo/romans51.jpg
Jesus and the Woman at the Well.   http://newprotest.org/projects/theology/images/20090115_samaritan.jpg