Thursday, January 31, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 21

Sometimes, I get so tense
But I can't speed up the time
But you know, love, there's one more thing to consider
Said woman take it slow
Things will be just fine
You and I'll just use a little patience –
Guns N' Roses, Patience

Beginning a Bible study entry with the words of Guns N' Roses is just a tad unexpected, but despite the fact they aren't exactly a fine example of Christian morals and ethics, their words here still relate to Isaiah, Chapter 21. Chapter 21 is a lesson in patience, as we are back to seeing a prophesy against Babylon. As we have learned, Babylon was the strongest society of the time of Isaiah, and the people of Israel had come to fear the Babylonians. Isaiah presents the promise here that God will deliver them from the oppression of the Babylonians. All they had to do was exercise a little patience and trust in God.

4 My heart falters,
       fear makes me tremble;
       the twilight I longed for
       has become a horror to me.

 5 They set the tables,
       they spread the rugs,
       they eat, they drink!
       Get up, you officers,
       oil the shields!

 6 This is what the Lord says to me:
       "Go, post a lookout
       and have him report what he sees.

 7 When he sees chariots
       with teams of horses,
       riders on donkeys
       or riders on camels,
       let him be alert,
       fully alert."

 8 And the lookout shouted,
       "Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower;
       every night I stay at my post.

 9 Look, here comes a man in a chariot
       with a team of horses.
       And he gives back the answer:
       'Babylon has fallen, has fallen!
       All the images of its gods
       lie shattered on the ground!' " – Isaiah 21:4-9

Historically, Babylon fell not by a conquering army, but by decay and disarray within after the rule of Alexander the Great. It was nothing that Israel or Judah did, and no army of Israel or Judah ever rose up to conquer this oppressor. We see in the verses above that God was telling the people of Judah that they only need exercise patience and God would deliver them from Babylon. Instead of being told to rise and fight, they are told to post a lookout and wait for Babylon to fall on her own.

How can we apply this patience to our daily lives? Well, as a personal example, I was blessed greatly yesterday for my patience. I have published a Purdue sports blog since August of 2006. In 2007, God blessed me with a network and connections that increased my readership to a couple thousand people per week. It became a project that I enjoy spending time on because I knew I would be honing my craft of writing, plus I simply enjoy writing about Purdue athletics. I dream of one day getting paid to write full time for this, but the revenue I was receiving from some ads I had sought out were minimal (about $10 a month) at best. Still, I persevere because I know this is what God wants me to do for now.

Yesterday that perseverance began to pay off, as I was able to snag my first major ad contract. It was only $400 for five text ads placed on my site for one year, but to me it was a huge step. In a period of less than 24 hours, I went from not even a glimmer of expected ad revenue to this blessing. To me, it represented a realization of a dream, as I was finally being compensated for something I had dreamed of being paid for since I began writing it. I also know it represents a future promise, as it is just a step along the journey that God has planned for me. It is also a reassurance that I am doing what He wants me to do at this time. In a way, this is my lookout, waiting for the signs that God is going to fulfill His promise in my life. I cannot think of a better way to serve God than by continuing on this path.


  1. What are you on the lookout for in your life?
  2. How else can you see patience in this lesson?
  3. How important is it to remember patience is often learned through hardship?

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