Isaiah 13-17, Psalm 112
As we move into the next section of prophecy by Isaiah, we will read of His burdens or oracles concerning the 9 nations surrounding Israel. Many, as they go through the Old Testament mistakenly believe that our God is a God of wrath who somehow enjoys the downfall of the various nations along with it’s citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is patient before judging, allowing time for people and nations to correct their path and turn to Him. We read in Genesis 15:13,16, “Then He said to Abram; “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years…But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” We read of God’s heart toward those who remain defiant in their position towards Him in Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live’, says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ “. When we consider the consequences of sin, the reality of Hell, and the individuals and nations who seem hopelessly on that path, may we too feel this burden, and reach out with the only message of hope in Jesus, before it is too late.
When we read prophecy, it is easy to read through quickly, since many of the cities are not familiar, the nations, for the most part are no longer pertinent, and there is much symbolism and poetry in the details. In Isaiah 42:8-9, we read, “I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” The primary purpose of the prophet was to speak forth the heart and mind of the Lord. As we move through the prophets, may we realize how this sets our Book apart from every other “holy” book. Only the Bible dares to speak of future events with pinpoint accuracy before they actually happen.
Many of these prophecies have both near and far fulfillment, and the same chapter will go back and forth between the two. We can trust that the future prophecies will occur, since the near prophecies were fulfilled. Notice the specificity of the judgment against Babylon in Isaiah 13:17, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it.” We read the Medes were mentioned by name as the group that would overpower Babylon. The Medes at this time were an insignificant group of nomads at the time the prophecy went forth almost 200 years before being fulfilled. Notice the specificity of 3 years in the proclamation against Moab in Isaiah 16:14, “But now the Lord has spoken, saying, ” Within three years, as the years of a hired man, the glory of Moab will be despised with all that great multitude, and the remnant will be very small and feeble.” This was fulfilled in that time by the Assyrians.
As we continue through this amazing book of prophecy, may we be in awe at our God and His Word which illuminates facts before they occur. Many who claim to predict the future make claims with broad applications. The Bible gives precise names, dates, locations, how they occur, etc. Every single one of the hundreds of prophecies which could be fulfilled has been fulfilled exactly as predicted. This should give us all complete comfort and confidence that those prophecies yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled with that same razor sharp accuracy. May these books of prophecy bolster the faith of all of us.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: