Self-Reliance

Isaiah 47:8-9

Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

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Babylon’s fall would be sudden, and it would come as a great surprise to these incredibly self-absorbed people who thought of themselves in the same terms in which God describes Himself. “I am, and there is no one else beside me.”  How any human being can consider himself in those terms really leaves me amazed.

The people of Babylon were so confident of their superiority that they never considered for a moment that they could or would be destroyed by the threat from the East, in the person of Cyrus. They were so sure of their safety that they lived carelessly, never worrying that they would lose their freedom, being involved in sorceries and enchantments.

I can’t help but think of so many Americans today who are caught up in witchcraft, enthralled with stories of vampires,  hooked on TV programs that portray terrible evil, loving “music” that is filled with hatred, anger, and rebellion, and unnatural lust.  We need to pay attention.  Babylon was not exempt from God’s judgment, and neither are we. I’m thankful that there are still those who love God, who love His Word, and who are in places of power here in America.

What we really need is a national revival.

Why Judgment?

Isaiah 47: 6-7

I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.

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God was angry because His people had strayed–again–away from Him into idolatry.  His people were defiled by idolatrous practices, so he allowed Babylon to conquer them and take them into slavery.  But Babylon went too far.  They showed no mercy to the Israelites.  They even placed heavy workloads on frail older people who could not stand up under such demands.

Babylon thought she would always be supreme among the nations (I will be a lady forever), and in her pride, she forgot that she was dealing with the Holy One of Israel.

Doom of Babylon, cont.

Isaiah 47: 3-4.

Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

As for our Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel.

Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.

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Again, nakedness is a mark of shame and humiliation. The last clause in verse 3 indicates that Babylon won’t be allowed to stop or oppose the Divine vengeance.

Verse 4, in the middle of the prediction of Babylon’s destruction, is a reminder that the Israelites had a Redeemer, but the Babylonians did not.

In verse 5, Babylon is pictured as sitting in the silence of darkness, in sorrow and humiliation instead of having the distinction of being “The lady of kingdoms.”  Sitting in darkness was a sign of mourning,

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: Rahab

Yesterday Terry was asking me where Rahab is mentioned in the lineage of Jesus.  Matthew 1:5 tell us that she married Salmon and was the mother of Boaz.  Boaz married the Gentile Ruth and they had Obed, who was the father of Jess, who was the father of David, who became the King of Israel.

Why is this important?  Well, in Joshua 2 you can read the story.  Rahab was a harlot; a well-known prostitute who lived in Jericho.  When two Hebrew spies asked her to help them, she chose to hide them if they would save her life when Jericho fell. They agreed, and told her to hang a scarlet cord from her house.  Her house was spared when the walls fell. See, the people of Jericho had heard of the God of Israel,  and they knew it was wise not to stand against  Him.Image result for Rahab in the city of Jericho

Because Rahab believed God and protected His men, she was accepted into the Hebrew tribes. Ordinarily, the penalty for prostitution was very harsh, but   she was forgiven. Beyond forgiveness, she was blessed.  She married Salmon, and became a  part of the line of David, from which Jesus Christ  was born. And along the way, Ruth, a woman of the Gentile nation of Moab, also became a part of the line of Jesus.

Both of these women are examples of the grace of God in the Old Testament.

A friend told me this week that she heard a preacher say something along the lines that we should forget the Old Testament and just focus on the New Testament.

My reaction?  How ridiculous! The entire Old Testament records mankind, warts and all, but looks to the cross and the redemption of mankind through the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb.  How could we possibly understand all that if it were not for the Old Testament record of God’s grace and forgiveness time after time?

As I blog through the book of Isaiah (just started chapter 47)  I am overwhelmed at how often God  forgave His people for falling away from Him into idolatry.  That’s grace.

The Old Testament is so much more than just a collection of stories about war, murder, idolatry, and immorality.  It is about forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, and the love of God.

And it is about the prophecy of God’s eternal plan for  His people, and for all of mankind. It is exciting,  Full of miracles, the stories of sinful people, love stories, battles, and the love of God.

Discarding it is discarding the inspired Word of God.  It is just wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babylon’s Doom

Isaiah 47:1-2.

Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.

Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

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Babylon is pictured here as a proud female, accustomed to luxury and ease, suddenly made poor and brought down to the lowest condition, being compelled to be a slave. To sit in the dust was an expression of mourning and humiliation.

Verse 2 pictures the daughter of Babylon humbled from her place as a queen and a lady of luxury to the place of a slave girl grinding at the mill, humiliated in nakedness and shame.  Grinding meal was often put upon slaves as punishment.

To uncover the locks (the hair) means to remove the veil, uncover the face and hair, which would be a disgrace. In that era of history, among Eastern women,  having uncovered hair indicated  immorality.

To bare the leg, uncover the thigh, and pass over the rivers  also pictures shame. It describes lifting up the long train of the robe of the queen or daughter of Babylon in order to pass through the rivers going into slavery and captivity. Making the legs bare and exposing the thighs to pass through the streams, her nakedness would be uncovered and she would be ashamed, exposed to public view as a common person.

I’m reading a book based on the true story of a woman who was imprisoned at a Nazi camp during WWII.  One of the ways in which the Nazis controlled the women was to make them strip off all their clothing and stand in line to be judged as healthy and able to work, or sick and sent to the gas chambers and ovens. Often, their heads were shaved to increase their humiliation.

It is amazing to me, as I watch the hems of today’s dresses go ever higher, and the tops go more and more bare, that they feel no sense of embarrassment or shame to expose themselves so completely. There is really nothing much left to the imagination.  Nudity has been used for centuries to punish and humiliate prisoners,  yet there seems to be no concern at all about the nudity I’m seeing now.  It’s nothing new.  Styles come and go, and after all there is just so much one can do with design before something has to be recycled.  I’ll just be glad when this current trend of very short, very bare dresses goes the way of all other fashion fads.

Christian girls, please don’t be fad followers.

Israel, My Glory

Isaiah 46:12-13.

12 Hearken unto Me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness: 13 I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel My glory.
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Here, God commanded the stouthearted of Judah to hearken to the message that His righteousness and salvation would be:
1. brought near to them
2. They would not be far off–long in coming
3. They would not tarry long before they would be here.
4. His righteousness and salvation would be placed in Zion for Israel, His glory.
We have to remember that God is not bound by a clock or a calendar. He will do what He will do in His own time, in His own way. What we can rest assured of is that His promises are true. What He says, He will do.

 

God’s Claims are True

Isaiah 46: 8-11.

Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure:

11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

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Again, God sternly speaks to His people, telling them to remember all that He has done; all that He foretold that has come to pass; and to pay attention to what He foretells for the future.  He is God.  There is no other God.  There is no god that compares to Him, or that can perform what He has performed, or will perform.

In verse 8, God challenges the people to be MEN, to acknowledge their sin in worshiping idols, and to remember that He is the One Who can tell the end from the beginning; the One Who told them what their future will be if only they will trust in Him. He has told things that have happened; He has foretold things that are yet to come.  He does it all in His own time, and at His own will. Our job is to obey, to trust, and to believe in Him.

In verse 11, Cyrus is the ravenous bird from the east (Persia) who has been raised up and called by God to perform His purpose, the restoration of Israel.