Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Given a Choice

Isaiah 31:1-9

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!  Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.

Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.” (Isaiah 31:1-3)

In trusting Egypt to deliver them from the Assyrians, Israel had made a serious mistake they would regret.  Their faith was in the power of the Egyptian army and not in the power of God.   God is wise and powerful and would not change his plans or overlook the deliberate disobedience and insult to him.  He will punish those who help others get by with sin.  The Egyptians were not gods, despite the claims of some of their rulers.  When god took action against them they would be destroyed right along with the people they were trying to help. 

“For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.  As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.” (Isaiah 31:4-5)

A strong young lion, confident in his strength and with no experience of human weapons will have no fear of a group of shepherds when he attacks their sheep.  Their shouting will not affect him much more than the bleating of the sheep.  The Lord will defend Jerusalem with no more concern for people’s intervention than the young lion has, sweeping in like a flock of birds protecting their offspring.  He will deliver it from the enemies and make it permanent. 

“Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.  For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.  Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.  And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 31:6-9)

When Israel truly turns back to God, instead of trusting all these other things, they will destroy the idols they have built and worshipped.  When that happens, God will destroy the group who is oppressing them.  They will not be destroyed with mere human means, but God himself will intervene, and they will flee in panic, trying to get back to safety.

Ezekiel 39:1-5 describes the Lords destruction of the enemies in the last day.  “Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.  Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.  Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”

Though the prophecy refers to what will happen at the end of the Tribulation, god was telling Israel he would do the same thing for them against the Assyrians at that time if they would turn back to him.  Because they refused. They were destroyed instead.

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