There is a God who is aware of every place and every time in fullest detail. His knowledge is far beyond ours. He does not learn by conducting an investigation. He knows as the One who decrees. He is the God of Israel, but He speaks through His prophet to the nations of Babylon, Edom, and Arabia. He has a word for their future.
In Isaiah 21 the Lord’s ambassador began with a message for Babylon. The prophecy indicated that they would be greatly distressed by an approaching army, and would be defeated by a foreign power. After announcing the coming of enemies through the eyes of a watchman, and after pronouncing the fall of Babylon, Isaiah wrote again of the source of his prophecy. This oracle came from the Lord of hosts—the God of Israel.
Briefer messages of future difficulties were given to Edom and to Arabia. The word regarding Arabia indicated a clear and very imminent destruction, while the message concerning Edom was inconclusive, inviting the hearer to come back at a later date for further inquiry. The chapter ends with one more reminder that these sure words came from the Lord God of Israel, who had spoken definitively.
In the vast array of lands near and far and the many centuries that come and go, is there anyone who really knows the future? In the rise and fall of nations and empires through wars and rumors of wars, is there anyone who truly understands? The Almighty One of Israel is the Lord of armies. The watchman may see the sand of the deserts raised up to the skies through the galloping of horses coming through the wilderness. He can sound the alarm, and call warriors to take up their shields in the sudden panic of the most unwelcome evidence of impending doom. The Lord God is not surprised. He has made His decree, and He shall accomplish all His holy will.
It is this great God of Israel who was willing to humble Himself for our sake. He came as a servant for our salvation. He was obedient even to the point of death on the cross. What about the kingdom that He established? Jesus will reign over a new world forever and ever. Even now, if all appears to be lost, the faithful gospel watchman is able to take God’s sure word of truth and announce the dawn of an eternal realm. The first glimpse of resurrection has already come. The full day of God’s glorious light will soon arrive.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, help us to embrace the truth of trial and tribulation. We live in an era that You speak of as labor pains. How are we to rejoice in tribulation? Help us to see the bigger picture of Your plan. We are like those who have been troubled from difficulty in every direction. Teach us to embrace suffering as a gift, and to be willing to be remade during a time when the flesh has become weak.