2105.) Isaiah 21

May 26, 2017
Fallen, fallen is Babylon!

Fallen, fallen is Babylon!

Isaiah 21   (ESV)

Fallen, Fallen Is Babylon

The prophecy against Babylon is a magnificent example of Hebrew poetry in its abrupt energy and passionate intensity. It is a grievous vision that passes before the prophet. As whirlwinds rush from the desert, so a mysterious terror seizes Isaiah. An awful voice is heard, summoning his attention to the metropolis of the world:  the vast and populous stronghold of Babylon on the distant Mesopotamian plains. The air grows full of voices and the darkness of mysterious shapes come and go. He can see nothing clearly, nor hear any distinct speaking. At last the darkness opens, the curtains of the night are drawn aside, and he beholds a stately palace blazing with lights and ringing with the sounds of revelry. It is the palace of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. A banquet is being held for a thousand of his lords. The prophet reports what he sees:  They cover the table. They set the watch that they may have their celebration undisturbed. They eat. They drink. Their drunken revelry is at its height when a voice quick with alarm is heard through the halls crying the familiar battle-cry, “Arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.”

–N. E. Constance

The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea.

The great plain of Babylon was divided by many marshes and lakes, hence the reference to it as “of the sea.”

As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on,
it comes from the wilderness,
from a terrible land.
A stern vision is told to me;
the traitor betrays,
and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, O Elam;
lay siege, O Media;
all the sighing she has caused
I bring to an end.

An army from Persia (made up of the ancient peoples of Elam and Media) marches on Babylon.

Therefore my loins are filled with anguish;
pangs have seized me,
like the pangs of a woman in labor;
I am bowed down so that I cannot hear;
I am dismayed so that I cannot see.
My heart staggers; horror has appalled me;
the twilight I longed for
has been turned for me into trembling.

The leaders are not concerned to prepare for war.

They prepare the table,
they spread the rugs,
they eat, they drink.
Arise, O princes;
oil the shield!

While the prophet watches to see what happens next, the whole scene disappears, the lights go out, the palace disappears and he is left on his windy watch-tower in terror and suspense. As he gazes into the night, he sees shadows moving swiftly under the cover of night against the city in which the king was banqueting with his lords. It is the Median cavalry, riding in pairs, and the Persians with their long array of camels. The prophet knows now the Medes and Persians of Cyrus have plunged down the mountain to attack the mighty city of the plains.

Again the thick darkness closes over the scene. All is silent. There is no voice or sound. Then the darkness lifts and the air trembles with a shout of victory. The prophet looks and sees the Median army riding out of the city they have captured. He listens and hears their cry, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.”

–N. E. Constance

For thus the Lord said to me:
“Go, set a watchman;
let him announce what he sees.
When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs,
riders on donkeys, riders on camels,
let him listen diligently,
very diligently.”
Then he who saw cried out:
“Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord,
continually by day,
and at my post I am stationed
whole nights.
And behold, here come riders,
horsemen in pairs!”
And he answered,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon;
and all the carved images of her gods
he has shattered to the ground.”
10 O my threshed and winnowed one,
what I have heard from the Lord of hosts,
the God of Israel, I announce to you.

This is our picture from Isaiah. It conveys to us, as no mere history could do, the astonishment, terror, and joy with which the world heard of the fall of that mighty Babylonian empire which had seemed founded forever.

–N. E. Constance

The report comes to the watchman: Babylon is fallen, is fallen! This dramatic scene was fulfilled when the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon, but it also has a prophetic application. Revelation 18:2 describes the cry of an angel when God judges the world system, both commercial Babylon and spiritual Babylon: And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” The repetition of the phrase is fallen, is fallen connects the two passages.

–David Guzik

11 The oracle concerning Dumah.

The second prophecy concerns Dumah, which is another name for Edom, a nation in the mountainous region of Seir. The Edomites were the descendants of Isaac’s son and Jacob’s brother Esau. They wonder what their future will hold, and the watchman talks about morning and night — hope and judgment. They will have relief from the Assyrian domination, but it will be followed by oppression from Babylon.

One is calling to me from Seir,
“Watchman, what time of the night?
Watchman, what time of the night?”
12 The watchman says:
“Morning comes, and also the night.
If you will inquire, inquire;
come back again.”

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I21 Watchman

Music:

How blessed we are to know that the night is over now that Jesus has come!  “Watchman, Tell Us of the Night”  by Nadia Birkenstock on Celtic harp.  Click  HERE  to listen and enjoy.

Watchman, tell us of the night,
what its signs of promise are.
Traveler, o’er yon mountain’s height,
see that glory-beaming star.
Watchman, does its beauteous ray
aught of joy or hope foretell?
Traveler, yes; it brings the day,
promised day of Israel.

Watchman, tell us of the night;
higher yet that star ascends.
Traveler, blessedness and light,
peace and truth its course portends.
Watchman, will its beams alone
gild the spot that gave them birth?
Traveler, ages are its own;
see, it bursts o’er all the earth.

Watchman, tell us of the night,
for the morning seems to dawn.
Traveler, darkness takes its flight,
doubt and terror are withdrawn.
Watchman, let thy wanderings cease;
hie thee to thy quiet home.
Traveler, lo! the Prince of Peace,
lo! the Son of God is come!

–words by John Bowring, 1825

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13 The oracle concerning Arabia.

There is trouble ahead for Arabia, too.  They will be hungry and thirsty, their glory gone in “a year  . . . of a hired worker,” meaning not one day longer than a year.

In the thickets in Arabia you will lodge,
O caravans of Dedanites.
14 To the thirsty bring water;
meet the fugitive with bread,
O inhabitants of the land of Tema.
15 For they have fled from the swords,
from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow,
and from the press of battle.

16 For thus the Lord said to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 17 And the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.”

The most basic ground zero reason for the prophets to declare what is happening and what is going to happen to the nations around Israel is profoundly simple. These nations existed on land that Yahweh promised to Abraham and his descendants. Babylon (south of the Euphrates), Arabia, Edom, Moab, Ethiopia, Ammon, Damascus, Phoenicia, Philistia, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon are all on land that is ultimately promised to Abraham and Israel. Read Genesis 15:18-21. The Jewish rabbis state this as the proper extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. This is all the land that was promised.

–Keith Lannon

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Fallen is Babylon.    http://www.eborg3.com/Graphics/Bible/66-Revelation/Rev18/Babylon.jpg
Revelation 18:2.   http://cdn3.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/What-does-the-Bible-say-about-Babylon.jpg
“Watchman Tell Us of the Night,” Hymnscript by Diana Wolverton.   http://www.imagekind.com/Watchman-Tell-Us-of-the-Night_art?IMID=233edf5d-7a42-4af3-a2a2-74831d161c81

2104.) Isaiah 20

May 25, 2017

I20 barefoot

Isaiah 20   (ESV)

A Sign Against Egypt and Cush

In the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and captured it—

This invasion took place in 711 BCE.

At the time this siege took place Egypt and Ethiopia were under the same monarch, named Shabok. The Philistine inhabitants of Ashdod were seriously looking forward to being delivered from the big bad Assyrians, by the big good Egyptian/Ethiopian forces. On this occasion, the one referred to in Isaiah 20:1, the king of Assyria placed his own puppet king in charge of Ashdod and left for home. Soon afterwards, however, Ashdod deposed the Assyrian “Yes man,” and put their own choice of king on their throne, and then hurriedly and immediately went scurrying around the nations that surrounded them asking Judah, Edom, Moab and the Egyptian/Ethiopian empire to assist them. They knew full well that Assyria would beat the daylights out of them for their hasty rebellion.

Foreseeing all that was to come, Isaiah was given a message from God that was meant to warn Hezekiah and the whole of Judah not to entertain union with Egypt or Ethiopia in anyway whatsoever. What was to happen to Egypt and Ethiopia would be the same as happened to all their allies.

Rather than preach and declare, “Keep away from Egypt,” he brought a much more easily grasped message. The message was strange — a somewhat embarrassing message that one could not help but see, hear, and understand.

–Keith Lannon

at that time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

The commentators agree that Isaiah did not go about stark naked, but stripped of his outer garments — rather like walking around in one’s underwear — as a symbol of poverty and humiliation.

Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.

Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast. And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”

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Music:

How shall we escape?  Where can we go?  Seems to me there is a song about that — something about nowhere to go “but to the Lord”!  Click  HERE  to hear the Gaithers sing it.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
barefoot.    http://wayofapilgrim.crazystampgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/feet_walking_.jpg
Isaiah preaching.   https://thelonghaulwithisaiah.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/20-0-isaiah20preaches20to20the20people.jpg

2103.) Isaiah 19

May 24, 2017
The Great Pyramids of Giza, ancient even when Abraham came to Egypt!

The Great Pyramids of Giza, ancient even when Abraham came to Egypt!

Isaiah 19   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Egypt

An oracle concerning Egypt.

Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud
and comes to Egypt;

Psalm 104:3 (NIV)

He makes the clouds his chariot
    and rides on the wings of the wind.

and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,

I19 cat

Egyptians had a plethora of gods!  They included the pharaohs and animals such as apes, crocodiles, frogs, lizards, cows, cats …

and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians,
and they will fight, each against another
and each against his neighbor,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom;
and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out,
and I will confound their counsel;
and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers,
and the mediums and the necromancers;
and I will give over the Egyptians
into the hand of a hard master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,
declares the Lord God of hosts.

And the waters of the sea will be dried up,
and the river will be dry and parched,
and its canals will become foul,
and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up,
reeds and rushes will rot away.
There will be bare places by the Nile,
on the brink of the Nile,
and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched,
will be driven away, and will be no more.

The Nile River was the key to Egypt’s agriculture and economy. For it to suffer a severe drought or lowering would have a devastating effect on the lives of Egyptians. God promises this will happen as a judgment against Egypt.

–David Guzik

The fishermen will mourn and lament,
all who cast a hook in the Nile;
and they will languish
who spread nets on the water.
The workers in combed flax will be in despair,
and the weavers of white cotton.

I19 egyptian-cotton-sheets

Egyptian cotton is recognized as superior to other cottons. Why? The following is from an online column, Wardrobe Advice.

Egyptian cotton is hand picked, which is gentler on the fibers. When cotton is picked by machine, the fibers may be stretched or curled. Sometimes the fibers even split when removed. The picking machine simply is not as gentle as a hand. Hand picking produces fibers that are straight and whole. 

Unlike cotton grown in the United States, which is primarily short staple cotton, Egyptian cotton is long staple cotton. Long staple cotton has more continuous fiber to use when converting the cotton to thread or yarn.  When yarn is continuous, it is stronger. Long fiber yarn is narrower in diameter yet still stronger than other types of cotton, including short staple. Narrower yarn means that more threads can be fit into the cloth per square inch. More threads per square inch means stronger fabric that is still very lightweight and can breathe well.

Egyptian cotton is considered to be stronger, softer and more durable than other cottons. Egyptian cotton is typically more expensive, but tends to be worth it. Most consider Egyptian cotton to be the best cotton there is in the world.

10 Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed,
and all who work for pay will be grieved.

11 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish;
the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am a son of the wise,
a son of ancient kings”?
12 Where then are your wise men?
Let them tell you
that they might know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt.

13 The princes of Zoan have become fools,
and the princes of Memphis are deluded;
those who are the cornerstones of her tribes
have made Egypt stagger.
14 The Lord has mingled within her a spirit of confusion,
and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds,
as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
15 And there will be nothing for Egypt
that head or tail, palm branch or reed, may do.

Egypt, Assyria, Israel Blessed

16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts shakes over them. 17 And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose that the Lord of hosts has purposed against them.

18 In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts.

I19 love of God

This is the story of the amazing grace of God!  Egypt, so long an enemy of God’s people, is now counted as part of God’s kingdom!  And Assyria, too!  “For God so loved the whole world!”

One of these will be called the City of Destruction.

19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. 21 And the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them.

There did come to be a widespread knowledge of the Lord in Egypt. 

The ancient translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek language, the Septuagint, was made in Egypt in the late 3rd century BCE.  In the days of Jesus, more than a million Jews lived in Egypt. In the early days of Christianity, there was a strong, vital church in Egypt for more than 600 years.  Recent reports indicate the church is presently under increasing difficulties due to the change in regime.

22 And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

24 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”

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Music:

HERE  is a Christian worship song sung by an Arabic-speaking musical team — “My Life Is Yours.”

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
pyramids.    http://www.ancient.eu/uploads/images/display-5687.jpg
Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/a4/66/be/a466be524b8ab58f905fb1b7bb785f56.jpg?noindex=1
Nile River.   http://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/civil/egypt/images/geog04b.jpg
Egyptian cotton sheets.    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0577/0909/products/4_6aabe7c6-f29e-410b-912b-52b77ef0954f_large.png?v=1475149276
The fear of the Lord.   http://ourdailyblossom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/110117-590×393.jpg
cross and heart-shaped cloud formation.   http://getupwithgod.com/wp-content/uploads/GUWG-Love-of-God-3.gif
LXX.   https://blogofthetwelve.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/lxx.jpg

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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