2109.) Isaiah 25

June 1, 2017

I25 Where-is-Your-Sting

Isaiah 25   (ESV)

God Will Swallow Up Death Forever

O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the foreigners’ palace is a city no more;
it will never be rebuilt.

“But God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity. The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded. As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.”

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
    like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is put down.

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

I25 food and wine

Psalm 63:5   (NIV)

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
     with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
    He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.

Freud was wrong when he said: “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.” Compare that with Isaiah’s triumphant declaration, He will swallow death up forever!

–David Guzik

It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God;
we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
and Moab shall be trampled down in his place,
as straw is trampled down in a dunghill.
11 And he will spread out his hands in the midst of it
as a swimmer spreads his hands out to swim,
but the Lord will lay low his pompous pride
together with the skill of his hands.
12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down,
lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.

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Music:

I have been a church organist ever since I was a sophomore in high school, and I long ago lost count of how many funerals I have played for. But I have appreciated each one. Because I find that a funeral does something to clarify my mind and impress upon me what is eternally important. Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.

And because of Christ, we do not need to fear death. Now that is a remarkable truth! — one which bears thinking about and giving God thanks for all day today!

1 Corinthians 15:55-5   (NIV)

“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Click  HERE  to listen to Handel’s rendition of these verses in The Messiah. Hillary Summers, alto and John Mark Ainsley, tenor, with The Brandemburg Consort and The Choir of King’s College Cambridge, conducted by Stephen Cleobury.

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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:
O Death where is your sting.    http://thecripplegate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Where-is-Your-Sting.jpg
food and wine.   http://vineveracosmetics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Vine-Vera-Spring-Wine-Pairings-Lamb.jpg
Death has been defeated.    http://vineveracosmetics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Vine-Vera-Spring-Wine-Pairings-Lamb.jpg

2108.) Isaiah 24

May 31, 2017
The earth was created to be a thing of beauty to bring joy to the Lord and to his people.

The earth was created to be a thing of beauty to bring joy to the Lord and to his people.

Isaiah 24   (ESV)

Isaiah chapters 24 through 27 are sometimes called an “apocalypse.” The prophet holds before sinner and godly the clear teaching that the day of the Lord bring judgment on creation and the fullness of salvation for the saints. God’s plan of redemption includes restoration from exile, the blessings of Christ in the church, and the establishment of God’s kingdom in all nations. Ch. 24 focuses on God’s overthrow of the corrupted earth; ch. 25, on the praise that comes to Him in response; and chs. 26 and 27 on God’s interaction with His people. Brilliant assonances, incapable of translation, enhance the prophetic message.

–notes from The Reformation Study Bible

Judgment on the Whole Earth

A world-wide global wave of human violence and devastation, together with the destructive movements of the physical and spiritual cosmos, fear, sickness, hatred and war will one day dominate the planet. It will indeed be the end of the world as we now know it. Isaiah says it, as does the apostle John in the book that is commonly presented as the last in the New Testament. Its approach is as certain and as sure as anything can be. If there are any preparatory steps we can make, we would be wise to address them. The wonderful gift of free-will and intelligence that God gives us can make us both remarkably wise, or incredibly foolish. We must ask to make good decisions, logically thought through with motivation and circumstantial knowledge, which will guide us in the best way. The Bible gives us only an indication of the chronological era of these events. Whether we are on the cusp of it happening soon, or whether it is far distant, we still are required to be ready for our own sake and our eternal destiny.

–Keith Lannon

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.

2 Timothy 3:1   (NIV)

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.

God will judge everyone, without making social distinctions.

The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered;
for the Lord has spoken this word.

The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.
The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.

"Scorched Earth" painting by Spencer Joyner.

“Scorched Earth” painting by Spencer Joyner.

The earth was created for God’s glory. People were placed on the earth to tend the garden that God had made. But sin changed everything. The prophet begins to describe a world in which joy and gladness are changed into silence and sorrow:

The wine mourns,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
The mirth of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No more do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The wasted city is broken down;
every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dark;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city;
the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth
among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.

Yet there remains a remnant, a few who have served the true and living God.

I24 14 mountains

14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.
15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.

The new song is in response to God’s act of salvation.

_________________________

Music:

Click  HERE  to join Hillsong as they sing for joy and give glory to God: “Shout to the Lord.”

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Again the prophet sees the calamities to come. There is no escape. The judgment will be as universal and destructive as the flood in Noah’s day.

But I say, “I waste away,
I waste away. Woe is me!
For the traitors have betrayed,
with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”

17 Terror and the pit and the snare
are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 He who flees at the sound of the terror
shall fall into the pit,
and he who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,

I24 NoahsArk

Genesis 7:11  (ESV)

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.

and the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken,
the earth is split apart,
the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth staggers like a drunken man;
it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
and it falls, and will not rise again.

21 On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be confounded
and the sun ashamed,
for the Lord of hosts reigns
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and his glory will be before his elders.

I24 arklanding

As those in Noah’s ark found rest on Mount Ararat, so the remnant will find rest on Mount Zion. And after all the disaster — God still reigns! Jesus Christ is still the victor!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
tulip field in Germany.   http://www.hdwallpapers.in/walls/field_of_tulips_germany-normal.jpg
Joyner.    http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/scorched-earth-spencer-joyner.jpg
Isaiah 24:14.    http://jesusone.com/slideshow2/isaiah24-14.jpg
the flood.    http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/NoahsArk.jpg
ark lands on Ararat.    http://nwcreation.net/images/noahsark/arklanding2.jpg

2107.) Isaiah 23

May 30, 2017

Main road through the ruins of ancient Tyre, Lebanon.

Isaiah 23   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Tyre and Sidon

The oracle concerning Tyre.

To the north of Israel, Tyre was the leading city of Phoenicia, the great maritime power of the ancient world. Because it was such an important harbor and center for shipping, Tyre was synonymous with commerce and materialism.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!
From the land of Cyprus
it is revealed to them.
Be still, O inhabitants of the coast;
the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you.

And on many waters
your revenue was the grain of Shihor,
the harvest of the Nile;
you were the merchant of the nations.
Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,
the stronghold of the sea, saying:
“I have neither labored nor given birth,
I have neither reared young men
nor brought up young women.”
When the report comes to Egypt,
they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre.

The news of the fall of Tyre will spread rapidly and cause great concern throughout the Mediterranean, from Tarshish in Spain, to Cyprus, to Egypt.

Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, O inhabitants of the coast!
Is this your exultant city
whose origin is from days of old,
whose feet carried her
to settle far away?
Who has purposed this
against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,
whose merchants were princes,
whose traders were the honored of the earth?
The Lord of hosts has purposed it,
to defile the pompous pride of all glory,
to dishonor all the honored of the earth.

“Pride, pride, pride, is that basic sin to which God is ever opposed, and man is ever expressing.”

~F. C. Jennings

God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.

~Dwight L. Moody

Pride is at the bottom of a great many errors and corruptions, and even of many evil practices, which have a great show and appearance of humility.

~Matthew Henry

Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.

~T.S. Eliot

If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.

~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

10 Cross over your land like the Nile,
O daughter of Tarshish;
there is no restraint anymore.
11 He has stretched out his hand over the sea;
he has shaken the kingdoms;
the Lord has given command concerning Canaan
to destroy its strongholds.
12 And he said:
“You will no more exult,
O oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon;
arise, cross over to Cyprus,
even there you will have no rest.”

Detail from the “Sarcophagus of the Crying Women,” from Sidon, now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Detail from the “Sarcophagus of the Crying Women,” from Sidon, now in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum

13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not; Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin.

14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish,
for your stronghold is laid waste.

15 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

16 “Take a harp;
go about the city,
O forgotten prostitute!
Make sweet melody;
sing many songs,
that you may be remembered.”

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre,

Many commentators think this refers to the presence of Christianity in Tyre in the days of the early church.

and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.

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Music:

Amid the judgment we are seeing in these chapters of Isaiah, we can remember that God loves us more than we can imagine.  He is our deliverer in every circumstance.  HERE  is Selah singing “You Are My Hiding Place.”

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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:
ancient Tyre.    https://media1.britannica.com/eb-media/03/178003-004-B19988D2.jpg
map.   http://www.bibletrack.org/notes/image/Tyre-Sidon.jpg
God opposes the proud.   http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/files/2015/05/God-opposes-the-proud.jpg
Sarcophagus of the Crying Women.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/sarcophagus2bcrying2bwomen.jpg

2106.) Isaiah 22

May 29, 2017

I22 Jerusalem

Isaiah 22   (ESV)

An Oracle Concerning Jerusalem

“It is strange to find a prophecy against Judah and Jerusalem in a section that deals with the nations. But since Judah had chosen to behave like her neighbors and to desert the Lord, she deserved to be judged.”

–Herbert M. Wolf

The oracle concerning the valley of vision.

Since Jerusalem was a center for the worship of God and some of the prophets of God (including Isaiah), it is called the Valley of Vision.

–David Guzik (and all comments following)

What do you mean that you have gone up,
all of you, to the housetops,
you who are full of shoutings,
tumultuous city, exultant town?
Your slain are not slain with the sword
or dead in battle.

When Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, the men of Judah did not bravely die in battle. They died either being starved to death in the siege of the city, or as they fled in cowardly retreat.

All your leaders have fled together;
without the bow they were captured.
All of you who were found were captured,
though they had fled far away.
Therefore I said:
“Look away from me;
let me weep bitter tears;
do not labor to comfort me
concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

For the Lord God of hosts has a day
of tumult and trampling and confusion
in the valley of vision,
a battering down of walls
and a shouting to the mountains.

Isaiah sees an army full of arrows and chariots coming against Jerusalem. This prophesies the attack and overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

And Elam bore the quiver
with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
Your choicest valleys were full of chariots,
and the horsemen took their stand at the gates.
He has taken away the covering of Judah.

In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.

When Jerusalem was faced with this subsequent attack, they prepared the city for battle and for siege, strengthening the wall of the city and making sure there was adequate water for a siege.

11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth;

Instead of preparing Jerusalem for an attack, they should have turned their hearts in humble repentance to the Lord.

13 and behold, joy and gladness,
killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
eating flesh and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”
says the Lord God of hosts.

15 Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household,

Shebna was a servant of King Hezekiah, both a steward . . . over the household and a scribe (1 Kings 18:18, Isaiah 37:2). These were both positions of honor and responsibility. Shebna was one of King Hezekiah’s chief assistants.

and say to him: 16 What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock?

What did Shebna do with his position of honor and authority? He made himself a fancy and prestigious tomb! In that day, this was a display of significant power and wealth. In this, Shebna personifies all of Jerusalem with his obsessive self-interest. Isaiah had prophesied that the people of Judah and Jerusalem would be carried away into exile, but Shebna didn’t believe it. He built this elaborate tomb to himself in Jerusalem, as if to say, “I will never be carried away in exile. I am so certain that I will die here that I will build my tomb here.”

17 Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you 18 and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station.

20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim

“My servant” — what a glorious title for Eliakim! Both Shebna and Eliakim were servants of Hezekiah, but Shebna’s heart was directed towards selfish ambition and glory, and Eliakim’s heart was turned towards the Lord.

the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

I22 key

Revelation 3:7   (NIV)

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24 And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”

_________________________

Music:

A simple and sincere repentance and confession would have made all the difference.  Here is one you can pray now, in the song “Lead Me to the Cross”  by Hillsong United.  Click HERE.

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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:
Jerusalem by Caley Politi.   http://www.israelartguide.co.il/activities/images/poli1.jpg
the destruction of Jerusalem.   http://www.bible-history.com/map_fall_of_judah/jerusalem-destruction.jpg
repentance.    https://redeeminggod.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/repentance.jpg
Revelation 22:22.    http://www.destinyeastgateministries.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Dominion-2.jpg

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.”

_________________________

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

_________________________

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