Today’s readings.. (Joshua 9), (Isaiah 13), (1 Timothy 4,5)
God’s revelation of the future to Isaiah clearly has an application beyond the future that faced God’s nation during and sooner after the prophet’s own day. Ignoring the chapter break between today and tomorrows’ chapters (13 & 14) we read, “its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged. For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again chose Israel, and will set them in their own land.” This is an event we are witnessing!.
Ch. 13 contains many verses which are parallel to what we have just been reading in. I Thess 5 – such as v.2 about “the day of the Lord”. The awesome events at the climax of the ages are highlighted in the sayings of Jesus (e.g. Luke 21 v.25). We read in Isaiah, “Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger … For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil …” [v.9-11]
Verse 13 tells of a time when “the earth will be shaken out of its place at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger” – this makes us think of the final mighty earthquake the world will experience as predicted in Rev. 16 v.18 “ … a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth.”
When we then read ch. 14 in Isaiah we see this as surely being part of the vision of the climax of present human life on earth. Some particular evil man is involved! We read about “a man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the earth like a desert and overthrew its cities” [v.16,17.]
We ponder world events and the potential for possession of nuclear power in the hands of certain leaders and how they might use them.
The other side of this picture is that of “the LORD and the weapons of his indignation” [13 v.5] so that the righteous say of this latter day “king of Babylon: ‘How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked …” [14 v.4,5] – especially the “man who” caused extreme trembling! But at that time, “the house of Israel will … rule over those who oppressed them.” [v.2]
After we have been awed by what God inspired Isaiah to write we balance this with our chapters from Paul’s letter to Timothy – that “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” [1 Tim 4 v.8] He tells Timothy, “Keep close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” [v.16]
As God’s punishments increase on this world – and then reach a climax – we must – more than ever – keep a close watch on ourselves.