No Escape

Isaiah 15:7-9. “Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab: the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beer-elim. For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.”

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The people of Moab are going to try to rescue whatever they can, in terms of crops for food, and probably their household goods and money. The Brook of the Willows seems to have been a boundary between Moab and the Jordan River. They would be looking for a place of escape and shelter, hoping to save whatever they could from the destruction of their enemies.

Verse 8 mentions other boundaries of Moab, where the news of the fall of their land will spread with great lamentation and crying. The waters of Dimon, another boundary, would be red with the blood of the slain.  And to make matters worse, there would be lions that would hunt escapees from Moab.

There would be very little success in their efforts to escape the armies of Assyria.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Back to Church

It’s going to be a short one this morning.  Terry’s fixing bacon and eggs for us for breakfast, an unusual and welcome treat.

I’m going back to church after three weeks out.  My back is once again settling down, and I think I’ll be okay.  I just have to remember to take my lumbar pillow to put between my swayback and the back of the pew.

Don’t know what swayback is? Here you go:

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Or just think of a very old horse:

Anyway, it’s been a tough three weeks.   I’ve worked and come home and crawled into bed. Terry wants to know why I don’t just take off work when the back goes hinky on me. It’s because I can’t live with the guilt.  I’ve missed so much since October, and I especially hate to cancel on new clients that I’ve just started seeing.

I got one of those seat cushions that are supposed to take the pressure off your lower back and tailbone. We’ll see.

Anyway, a blessed and relaxing Sunday to all of you.  I hope you’ll find a place to attend a good church today, enjoy being with other believers, and have your soul encouraged by the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

Stats

Every blogger has access to  all kinds of interesting information about who is reading our blogs.  The stats page never gives personal names, of course, but it does tell us what countries and even what cities our readers are from. It shows demographics such as age groups, and how many people are repeat visitors  and how many are there for the first time.  I have no idea how they gather all this information, and I really don’t care. Usually, all I look at is the daily numbers.

This week, though,  something rather unusual happened. On Wednesday, I had about twice the normal numbers of visits; then on Thursday, there were 194 hits, all from Qatar, along with the rest of the people who visited  my blog that day. They hadn’t all visited the same post.  There are hundreds of posts now, after four years of almost-daily writing.

But–Qatar?  Really?

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It’s a little peninsula connected to Saudi Arabia and surrounded by the Arabian Gulf.  I’ve read quite a bit about Qatar, and found that it is mostly comprised of Sunni Muslims, and Islam is the official religion, and Islam is the basis of jurisprudence in Qatar. When I asked my computer about the Christian population of Qatar, this is what I learned:

The Christian community in Qatar is a diverse mix of European, North and South American, Asian, Middle Eastern and African expatriates. They form around 13.8% of the total population (2010). … missionary groups operate openly in the country. There are no local Christians in Qatar; all Christians are foreign expatriates.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever know why I had all that traffic from Qatar,  but I do find it curious. Did a Christian  from a Christian community stumble across my blog and share it with his friends?  Or did a Muslim stumble across it and find it interesting enough to share it with others?

I mean, if you were in my place, wouldn’t YOU like to know?

Mourning for Moab

Isaiah 15:5-6. “My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up: for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction. For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, and there is no green thing.”

Isaiah himself would see the destruction of Moab, and would mourn. The fugitives who escaped death would seek refuge south and west of their home.  Zoar is compared to a three-year-old ox, an age at which the animal will be at his full strength. Zoar, then, becomes an important city of refuge for the Moabites.

Luhith was a rise about one mile west of Mount Nebo, where sacrifice was made to the gods of the Moabites. The waters of Nimrim are just south of Luhith.   Horonaim remains unidentified for certain, but some believe it to have been a city north of Kirhareseth.

The thing all these places share in common is the desolation of war.  Water is dried up,  the hay and grass are withered, or dried up and useless.  There is nothing green. The desolation and destruction are complete.

Sackcloth for Grieving

Isaiah 15: 3-4. “In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.”

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Sackcloth would be called burlap today. It was used primarily for making bags for such things as harvested grain. Rough and uncomfortable, there was no beauty in it. It was the practice, for someone who was grieving, to wear sackcloth to show the depth of sorrow.

The Moabites, after their utter defeat, would literally be crying in the streets and the housetops.

The cities mentioned in verse four were all part of the destruction, which was complete. No corner escaped the armies of Assyria.  In fact, the armed Moabite soldiers that survived would find life not worth living.  The shame of their defeat, and the hopelessness of their future, made their lives grievous to them.

Moab

Isaiah 15:1. “The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off.

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Moab was defeated by the Assyrians about the 4th year of Hezekiah’s reign, and the prophecies of 15:1-9 and 16:6-14 were then fulfilled.

Ar was the chief city of Moab. As you can see, it was situated near the Arnon River. Kir, another large city, lay about six miles south of Ar. Bajith and Debon were places of worship and sacrifice to the gods of the Moabites.

Those who will mourn the destruction of Moab are those who survived the devastation created by the Assyrians.  Shaving one’s head and beard were signs of deep mourning.

Moab does not exist today as a country; rather, it is part of what we know as Jordan. Genesis 19: 37-38  is the account of Moab and Ammon, sons of Lot,  conceived in incest by his elder and younger daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

God has Founded Zion

Isaiah 14:31-32. “Howl, O gate: cry, O city: thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone to is appointed times. What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation?  That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it.”

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Palestina is applied to the whole land of Canaan. In the Old Testament we heard a lot about the Philistines;  Palestina and Philistia are one and the same. The city in this verse could be Ashdod, the largest city of the Philistines, but there is nothing definitive to tell us which city Isaiah is warning.  It could be all the cities of Palestine that would be under siege.

From the north is a reference to the armies of Assyria that would destroy everything in their path. The smoke could refer to the burning of the villages along the way; it could also be the signal fires or torches that carry messages to other branches of the invading armies.  None shall be alone would be better translated as there will be no stragglers  in the invading armies; every soldier would be  joined with every other soldier in the destruction.

In  verse 32, the messengers of the nation(s) are those who come seeking safety; possibly, Jews from other nations. They will be told that there will be complete peace and safety for them in Zion, which has been founded by God Himself.

Both of these verses point to the time of the end, when Jesus will be the only world ruler, and all nations will be at peace.