Thursday, January 24, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 15 and 16

My apologies for not publishing anything yesterday, but this is an incredibly difficult chapter to tackle and I was simply unable to come up with anything at work. I am also working on a few things to make this blog better and get it out to more people, so that has been consuming my spirit as well as many other things going on right now.

As a result of yesterday's largesse and because of a dearth of things to write about, I am putting chapters 15 and 16 together for today's discussion. Both go together because they concern the prophecy against Moab. Most people don't know where or what the land of Moab was. According to my study Bible, it was a very small country near Israel that fiercely valued its independence from the Assyrians and Babylonians. It shared a few links with Israel in that the Moabites had the same ancestral father as Israel, Terah, and King David's great-grandmother, Ruth, was from Moab. While they shared these things with Israel, they often conflicted with the Israelites. They frequently raided Israel, and that is why the bulk of chapter 15 offers a portent of doom for them.

5 My heart cries out over Moab;
       her fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
       as far as Eglath Shelishiyah.
       They go up the way to Luhith,
       weeping as they go;
       on the road to Horonaim
       they lament their destruction. – Isaiah 15:5

Isaiah, knowing the links that Israel and Moab share, shows a bit of sorrow here for the people of Moab unlike for the rest of Israel's enemies. This is also here to show that the Bible is a message of hope to all nations, and not just the nation of Israel. Many times in the Bible it appears that God is only concerned about the nation of Israel. Here though, is a prophetic vision where the author is mourning the fact that Moab had turned away from God. Why would there be sorrow over a nation God was judging? It is because God's message is for all people. As we know, God loves even as He disciplines. This is a case where His patience had ended and He was forced to discipline in order to turn people back to Him.

4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;
       be their shelter from the destroyer."
       The oppressor will come to an end,
       and destruction will cease;
       the aggressor will vanish from the land.

 5 In love a throne will be established;
       in faithfulness a man will sit on it—
       one from the house of David—
       one who in judging seeks justice
       and speeds the cause of righteousness.

 6 We have heard of Moab's pride—
       her overweening pride and conceit,
       her pride and her insolence—
       but her boasts are empty. – Isaiah 16:4-6

Who are these Moabite fugitives? Well, much like it was mentioned previously in Isaiah, there was a remnant of Moabite society that still followed God. Because of their proximity to Israel and the way the cultures had crossed for centuries, the message of God had reached them as well. These were the people that God was trying to save in his judgment against Moab. We must remember that there is always more to the story than what is written down here in the Bible. God's message has always been spread to people, but has not always been documented.

Finally, in this prophetic passage of judgment we see another message of hope. This is buried in verse five, which is clearly another prophecy concerning the majesty of Christ. I like how this links with the Moabite refugees from the previous verse, as it shows that Christ would be coming to bring hope to all people. These fugitives needed a Messiah as well, and they were turning to the God of the people who were often their enemies. Can you imagine this happening today? To me, this just shows even more of the power and beauty that the majesty of God brings.


  1. What made Moab different from Assyria and Babylon?
  2. Why does Isaiah refer to this future vision of Christ as merely a man in verse five of chapter 16?here for the people of Moab unlike the rest of Israe
  3. How does God's judgment show His love to those He is judging?

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