Seeing Far, Seeing Near

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), June 30

imagesIsaiah pronounces the LORD’s judgment on Babylon and Moab for their pride and rebellion. These nations have never belonged to the Lord; have never been followers of the true God; have never had copies of God’s Word; have never had true priests from Israel; and (except for the time that they were under David’s reign as vassal states) have never known much about the God of Israel. Yet the LORD, Israel’s God, presumes to announce judgment on these nations.

Why? God announces His judgments on these and other surrounding nations for two clear reasons:

  • To demonstrate to His people (and all the world) His power to fulfill His prophetic utterances, and

  • To remind all nations that He is the one true God to whom all nations and all peoples belong.

Isaiah prophesies of Babylon’s destruction; many years pass, but the day does come when the great city of Babylon is annihilated and its ruins settle under the sands by the river’s edge. Moab’s pride is indeed broken; the Moabites are eventually lost as a nation and scattered among other people groups. When Isaiah prophesies, both of these people groups are at their zenith of power and pomp, but within a few centuries both are on the ash heap of history. God’s word has come true.

More importantly, however, both nations are served notice that the deities whom they worship are impotent idols, false gods like the gods of all the nations today. One day everyone will bow the knee to the LORD, who reveals Himself to Israel and then finally reveals Himself as the God-man, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah warns of the Day of the LORD (Is. 13:9), a day when God will come to desolate the land and to destroy the sinners within it. The Day of the LORD will bring all nations under the ultimate judgment of the true God; all false gods will be exposed as impotent, and all their followers will be ashamed. Israel and Judah have failed to honor and exalt the true God, so they will be judged for their failure. But their dishonor in no way diminishes God’s glory and truth; all nations will stand before the living God—the LORD who has revealed Himself in the Bible.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (2 Kings 16:19-20; 2 Chronicles 28:26-27; Isaiah 13:1-16:14):
To whom does the Isaiah ascribe the power behind the wickedness of the nations? (14:12)
What do Isaiah’s messages against the nations of his day reveal about God?