Friday, January 20, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Isaiah 12-17
Remembering the Book of Isaiah is a book of prophecy; Isaiah 12 continues the prophecy of the coming Messiah with words and a song of praise.
Isaiah 13-14 describe the prophetic judgment God will bring against Babylon, the nation that will soon lay siege to Jerusalem and take the Jews captive. Described in Isaiah 13:1 as the “burden (i.e. doom) of Babylon”, the Book of Daniel records the history of not only the Jewish captivity in Babylon, but also the destruction of that city by the armies of the Medes and Persian nearly two centuries after Isaiah’s prophecy (Daniel 5).
Isaiah 13:19-22 paints a prophetic picture of the devastation Babylon will eventually suffer. Indeed, to this day, Babylon lies in ruins under the sands of the desert in Iraq.
Isaiah 14 continues the prophecy against Babylon; however, the opening verses of this chapter offer hope to the Jews of one day being restored to their land. Remarkably, the destruction of the city of Babylon, considered unassailable in that day, is prophetically foretold in detail. Isaiah 14:9-23 describes Hell itself being stirred at the entrance of the fallen king of Babylon. Reading this passage should caution us all to remember that Death is the inevitable equalizer of all men, great and small.
Isaiah 14:12-14 compares the sudden fall of the great king of Babylon to the fall of the archangel Lucifer, described as the “son of the morning” (14:12). The pride that moved Lucifer to challenge the God of Heaven, is the pride that moved Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon to boast he would assail Israel “exalt my throne above the stars of God” (most likely a reference to the Jews) and “sit also upon the mount of the congregation”, most likely the Mt. of Zion upon which Jerusalem was built (14:13). The parallel between the fall of Lucifer and the king of Babylon continues in verse 15. Isaiah 14:16-23 completes the prophecy against the king of Babylon, describing how the people will gaze upon his lifeless body with wonder that so great and powerful a man is brought low to the grave like all men.
Isaiah 15-16 is a prophecy concerning the “burden of Moab” (literally the doom or prophecy concerning Moab). The Moabites were descendants of Lot and their geographical lands were on the southeast side of the Dead Sea.
The subject of Isaiah 17 is the “burden of Damascus” (17:1), a prophetic picture of the future of that capital city north of Israel. Damascus’ destruction was to serve as a prophetic warning to Israel.
A personal note in closing: I understand long passages of prophecy like today’s scripture reading can become burdensome to readers who lack a contextual and historical perspective; however, the discipline of reading the scripture will inevitably enrich your appreciation of God’s Sovereignty and understanding of His Providential care of His people through the ages (Isaiah 17:12-14).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith