The Siege of Jerusalem
Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
the city where David encamped!
The name Ariel means Lion of God, and in this passage is used as a symbolic reference to Jerusalem (the city where David encamped). God promises to bring distress to the city:
Add year to year;
let the feasts run their round.
2 Yet I will distress Ariel,
and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
and she shall be to me like an Ariel.
3 And I will encamp against you all around,
and will besiege you with towers
and I will raise siegeworks against you.
4 And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak,
and from the dust your speech will be bowed down;
your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
and from the dust your speech shall whisper.
Then God promises he will intervene and drive Jerusalem’s enemies back:
5 But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust,
and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,
6 you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
with thunder and with earthquake and great noise,
with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
7 And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
8 As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion.
Why is this happening? Because the people have been willfully blind. They do not understand the word of God, and everyone has an excuse:
9 Astonish yourselves and be astonished;
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not with wine;
stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep,
and has closed your eyes (the prophets),
and covered your heads (the seers).
11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
Because their religion is purely external and their only fear of God is a matter of memorized creeds, God will perform a supernatural work of judgment, stripping the keenest minds of wisdom and discernment:
13 And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
“Wonder upon wonder” — Christ crucified!
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NIV)
Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
Indeed, man says exactly this today. Instead of seeing the absolute need for an intelligent designer who created all things, many believe that chance–absolute blind, random, purposeless chance, having no understanding at all–brought all things into being.
People who are otherwise intelligent often fall into this delusion. Jacques Monod, a biochemist, wrote: “Chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”
But assigning such power to “chance” is crazy. Chance has no power. For example, when a coin is flipped, the chance it will land “heads” is 50%; however, “chance” does not make it land heads. Whether or not it lands heads or tails is due to the strength with which the coin is flipped, the strength of air currents and air pressure as it flies through the air, where it is caught, and if it is flipped over once it is caught. Chance doesn’t “do” anything but describe a probability.
When Carl Sagan petitioned the federal government for a grant to search for intelligent life in outer space, how did he hope to find it? By using a super sensitive instrument to pick up radio signals from distant space. When he received those radio signals, he looked for order and pattern, which would demonstrate the signals were transmitted by intelligent life. In the same way, the order and pattern of the whole universe demonstrates that it was fashioned by intelligent life, not by “chance.” Scientists detect “chance” in the radio signals constantly (in the form of unpatterned static), but it tells them nothing.
We need to remember the context of the whole chapter–the pride and blindness of Jerusalem. It is perhaps the height of man’s pride and blindness to reject the Lord as our creator.
But a day of deliverance is coming!
17 Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing
and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
21 who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.
And the faithful remnant will honor God. Shame and reproach will be a thing of the past, and willingly they will learn of the Lord:
22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:
“Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who murmur will accept instruction.”
Many in our world today are averse to accepting instruction from the Bible, and I find that especially puzzling when one considers how all things in the universe came to be. Nature is so orderly much of the time! The planets faithfully revolve around the sun for centuries! Gravity always applies! Yet some people think this all just happened, somehow . . . My mother used to say that you could put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters for a million years, and you would never get anything like a Shakespeare play. Somewhere there must be great intelligence and great creativity! Only God! Click HERE to join in and praise the Lord: “Our God Reigns!”