My daily reading plan will take me through (among other goals) the Old Testament in one year, but rather non-traditionally. I am beginning with Isaiah.
Yesterday and today’s readings (Jan. 4-5) covered chapters 11-17, which includes the beginning of a series of woes and judgments upon the nations and rulers of the region (chs. 13-24).
When reading these chapters, it is quickly evident why Wayne Jackson called Isaiah, “God’s Prophet of Doom.” Below are some of my thoughts on the last few days' readings:
Nations are still judged by God
Nations are constantly judged by God, and in time, they fall – all of them. Every nation is eventually cast down.
In some instances of judgment, God is seen as a General, issuing the command for one nation to devour another: “The Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to demolish its [Tyre’s] strongholds” (Isa. 23:11b, NASB). “The Lord of hosts is mustering the army for battle…the Lord and His instruments of indignation, to destroy the whole land” (Isa. 13:4b-5).
In other instances, God is seen as executing judgment himself, “Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt” (Isa. 19:1).
God is seen as stirring up and turning the Medes loose on Babylon, as if he were holding back a bridled horse, only to release it in due time (Isa. 13:17).
The imagery throughout is graphic and powerful.
But the principles, are even more so.
The principles never change
God’s role as judge of nations has not ceased, and the principles by which He does so hasn't changed. He still allows one nation to rise, giving help and protection to her and her rulers. He still restrains nations from rising. He also releases them against one another when their time is fulfilled, when their iniquity is full.
This makes the prophets as relevant today as ever.
Many voices in our nation today are seeking the Word of God in smaller doses, or not at all. But it is obvious to me that America needs a much heavier dose, especially of the Old Testament prophets.