Monday, June 4, 2012

Isaiah 15 & 16 - Bad Moab

LINK: Isaiah 15 & 16


BACKGROUND

Moab was east of the Dead Sea. The Moabites were descendants of Lot through his incestuous relationship with his older daughter (Genesis 19:31-38). Here is a short review of all the bad things about Moab:
  • Moabite women seduced Israel's men during the wilderness wanderings (Numbers 31:15-17)
  • Oppressed Israel for 18 years (Judges 3:12-14)
  • Saul fought Moab (1 Samuel 14:47)
  • David defeated Moab (2 Samuel 8:2, 12)
  • Solomon was influenced by his wives to build an alter to Chemosh, Moab's god (1 Kings 11:7-8)
  • Moab's King Mesha had to pay tribute to King Ahab of Israel (2 Kings 3:4)
  • Mesha rebelled against Joram and was defeated (2 Kings 3:5-27)
Moab had always been an enemy of Israel. Now, Moab would be punished for treating Israel harshly; and when attacked by Assyria, Moabite refugees would flee to Sela, in the country of Edom to the South. From there, they would send pleas (in the form of tributes. See 2 Kings 3:4) to the king of Judah to give them refuge (Isaiah 16:1-5); but although Moab wanted Judah's help, they did not want Judah's God. 

Alas, Moab in their pride, would not submit to Judah or Judah's God. Isaiah (and the Lord) grieved over Moab's destruction (because God takes "no pleasure in the death of the wicked," Ezekiel 33:11). Sadly, within three years (16:14), Moab would be destroyed. Historically, Tiglath-Pileser III invaded Moab in 732 B.C. Sennacherib invaded Moab (and Judah) in 701 B.C. The ruins of Elealeh, Heshbon, Medeba, Dibon, etc. still exist to confirm the defeat of Moab and the truth of this prophecy!

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

There is a messianic promise in 16:5, pointing to the day when, in love, a man would sit upon a throne and reign in righteousness!


REFLECTION (written in 2009)

Over the last few days, we have heard of the destruction of mighty empires. I feel no satisfaction in the destruction of the wicked! I did not want Saddam Hussein to be executed but reformed. I pray regularly that Osama bin Laden will submit to the One who reigns in righteousness (Isaiah 16:5). Maybe I am a dreamer. (2012 update: Osama was killed in Pakistan in May 2, 2011)

In April 2009, I sat atop Bald Hill as three Kurdish Muslims told me their harrowing tales of life under Saddam's regime (in modern day Babylon), the gassing of their villages, their flee to the hills during the Gulf War in 1991, life in a refugee camp, the assassination of their loved ones, and their longing for an independent Kurdistan today. My head was spinning at the end of the conversation, and the only answer I had was Jesus. He is the answer to the Kurd's plight. It cannot be solved through political means or democracy but through a change of hearts to the One who reigns on a righteous throne in love (Isaiah 16:5).

So, I continue to sit here and pray for Osama bin Laden and the terrorists who killed my Kurdish friend's father and brother because God takes "no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezekiel 33:11).

2014 Update: I am in regular contact with one of those three Kurdish friends and praying as ISIS closes in on more Kurdish territory in Syria. 

APPLICATION

Get out a map from biblical times (or Google it) and mark out where Babylon and Moab used to be. Pray for the people who exist there today. Pray for the terrorists and wicked. Remember that God loves the whole world!

Here is a guide to pray for the people currently terrorizing this region:

ISIS Prayer Guide 

Here is also a challenging article:


Loving Bin Laden: What does Jesus Expect Us to Do?

PRAYER

Lord, we worship You as LORD of all the earth. You reign on high as the sovereign head of all events throughout history. We long for the day when Jesus will reign in righteousness. Until that time, help us to be instruments of His peace to a desperate world. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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