This is Episode #213 and today we’ll read Isaiah chapters 18-22 together. From the Lord’s message to Cush to a pronouncement against Arabia. And a few prophecies against Egypt in between, for good measure.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #213 and today we’ll read Isaiah chapters 18-22 together. From the Lord’s message to Cush to a pronouncement against Arabia. And a few prophecies against Egypt in between, for good measure.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Isaiah Chapter 18
The Lord’s Message to Cush
Woe to the land of buzzing insect wings
beyond the rivers of Cush,
which sends envoys by sea,
in reed vessels over the water.
Go, swift messengers,
to a nation tall and smooth-skinned,
to a people feared far and near,
a powerful nation with a strange language,
whose land is divided by rivers.
All you inhabitants of the world
and you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains, look!
When a ram’s horn sounds, listen!
For the Lord said to me:
I will quietly look out from my place,
like shimmering heat in sunshine,
like a rain cloud in harvest heat.
For before the harvest, when the blossoming is over
and the blossom becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with a pruning knife,
and tear away and remove the branches.
They will all be left for the birds of prey on the hills
and for the wild animals of the land.
The birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
and all the wild animals the winter.
At that time a gift will be brought to the Lord of Armies from a people tall and smooth-skinned, a people feared far and near, a powerful nation with a strange language, whose land is divided by rivers — to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of Armies.
Isaiah Chapter 19
A Pronouncement against Egypt
A pronouncement concerning Egypt:
Look, the Lord rides on a swift cloud
and is coming to Egypt.
Egypt’s worthless idols will tremble before him,
and Egypt will lose heart.
I will provoke Egyptians against Egyptians;
each will fight against his brother
and each against his friend,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
Egypt’s spirit will be disturbed within it,
and I will frustrate its plans.
Then they will inquire of worthless idols, ghosts,
mediums, and spiritists.
I will hand over Egypt to harsh masters,
and a strong king will rule it.
This is the declaration of the Lord God of Armies.
The water of the sea will dry up,
and the river will be parched and dry.
The channels will stink;
they will dwindle, and Egypt’s canals will be parched.
Reed and rush will wilt.
The reeds by the Nile, by the mouth of the river,
and all the cultivated areas of the Nile
will wither, blow away, and vanish.
Then the fishermen will mourn.
All those who cast hooks into the Nile will lament,
and those who spread nets on the water will give up.
Those who work with flax will be dismayed;
those combing it and weaving linen will turn pale.
Egypt’s weavers will be dejected;
all her wage earners will be demoralized.
The princes of Zoan are complete fools;
Pharaoh’s wisest advisers give stupid advice!
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am one of the wise,
a student of eastern kings”?
Where then are your wise men?
Egypt Was Led Astray
Let them tell you and reveal
what the Lord of Armies has planned against Egypt.
The princes of Zoan have been fools;
the princes of Memphis are deceived.
Her tribal chieftains have led Egypt astray.
The Lord has mixed within her a spirit of confusion.
The leaders have made Egypt stagger in all she does,
as a drunkard staggers in his vomit.
No head or tail, palm or reed,
will be able to do anything for Egypt.
Egypt Will Know the Lord
On that day Egypt will be like women and will tremble with fear because of the threatening hand of the Lord of Armies when he raises it against them. The land of Judah will terrify Egypt; whenever Judah is mentioned, Egypt will tremble because of what the Lord of Armies has planned against it.
On that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear loyalty to the Lord of Armies. One of the cities will be called the City of the Sun.
On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord near her border. It will be a sign and witness to the Lord of Armies in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and leader, and he will rescue them. The Lord will make himself known to Egypt, and Egypt will know the Lord on that day. They will offer sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and fulfill them. The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing. Then they will turn to the Lord, and he will be receptive to their prayers and heal them.
On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will go to Egypt, Egypt to Assyria, and Egypt will worship with Assyria.
On that day Israel will form a triple alliance with Egypt and Assyria — a blessing within the land. The Lord of Armies will bless them, saying, “Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance are blessed.”
Isaiah Chapter 20
No Help from Cush or Egypt
In the year that the chief commander, sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it — during that time the Lord had spoken through Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, “Go, take off your sackcloth from your waist and remove the sandals from your feet,” and he did that, going stripped and barefoot — the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot three years as a sign and omen against Egypt and Cush, so the king of Assyria will lead the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old alike, stripped and barefoot, with bared buttocks — to Egypt’s shame.
Those who made Cush their hope and Egypt their boast will be dismayed and ashamed. And the inhabitants of this coastland will say on that day, ‘Look, this is what has happened to those we relied on and fled to for help to rescue us from the king of Assyria! Now, how will we escape?’”
Isaiah Chapter 21
A Judgment on Babylon
A pronouncement concerning the desert by the sea:
Like storms that pass over the Negev,
it comes from the desert, from the land of terror.
A troubling vision is declared to me:
“The treacherous one acts treacherously,
and the destroyer destroys.
Advance, Elam! Lay siege, you Medes!
I will put an end to all the groaning.”
Therefore I am filled with anguish.
Pain grips me, like the pain of a woman in labor.
I am too perplexed to hear,
too dismayed to see.
My heart staggers;
horror terrifies me.
He has turned my last glimmer of hope
into sheer terror.
Prepare a table, and spread out a carpet!
Eat and drink!
Rise up, you princes, and oil the shields!
For the Lord has said to me,
“Go, post a lookout;
let him report what he sees.
When he sees riders —
pairs of horsemen,
riders on donkeys,
riders on camels —
he must pay close attention.”
Then the lookout reported,
“Lord, I stand on the watchtower all day,
and I stay at my post all night.
Look, riders come —
horsemen in pairs.”
And he answered, saying,
“Babylon has fallen, has fallen.
All the images of her gods
have been shattered on the ground.”
My people who have been crushed
on the threshing floor,
I have declared to you
what I have heard from the Lord of Armies,
the God of Israel.
A Pronouncement against Dumah
A pronouncement concerning Dumah:
One calls to me from Seir,
“Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?”
The watchman said,
“Morning has come, and also night.
If you want to ask, ask!
Come back again.”
A Pronouncement against Arabia
A pronouncement concerning Arabia:
In the desert brush
you will camp for the night,
you caravans of Dedanites.
Bring water for the thirsty.
The inhabitants of the land of Tema
meet the refugees with food.
For they have fled from swords,
from the drawn sword,
from the bow that is strung,
and from the stress of battle.
For the Lord said this to me: “Within one year, as a hired worker counts years, all the glory of Kedar will be gone. The remaining Kedarite archers will be few in number.” For the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.
Isaiah Chapter 22
A Pronouncement against Jerusalem
A pronouncement concerning the Valley of Vision:
What’s the matter with you?
Why have all of you gone up to the rooftops?
The noisy city, the jubilant town,
is filled with celebration.
Your dead did not die by the sword;
they were not killed in battle.
All your rulers have fled together,
captured without a bow.
All your fugitives were captured together;
they had fled far away.
Therefore I said,
“Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly!
Do not try to comfort me
about the destruction of my dear people.”
For the Lord God of Armies
had a day of tumult, trampling, and confusion
in the Valley of Vision —
people shouting and crying to the mountains;
Elam took up a quiver
with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
Your best valleys were full of chariots,
and horsemen were positioned at the city gates.
He removed the defenses of Judah.
On That Day
On that day you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest. You saw that there were many breaches in the walls of the city of David. You collected water from the lower pool. You counted the houses of Jerusalem so that you could tear them down to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the walls for the water of the ancient pool, but you did not look to the one who made it, or consider the one who created it long ago.
On that day the Lord God of Armies
called for weeping, for wailing, for shaven heads,
and for the wearing of sackcloth.
But look: joy and gladness,
butchering of cattle, slaughtering of sheep and goats,
eating of meat, and drinking of wine —
“Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
The Lord of Armies has directly revealed to me:
“This iniquity will not be wiped out for you people as long as you live.”
The Lord God of Armies has spoken.
A Pronouncement against Shebna
The Lord God of Armies said, “Go to Shebna, that steward who is in charge of the palace, and say to him: What are you doing here? Who authorized you to carve out a tomb for yourself here, carving your tomb on the height and cutting a resting place for yourself out of rock? Look, you strong man! The Lord is about to shake you violently. He will take hold of you, wind you up into a ball, and sling you into a wide land. There you will die, and there your glorious chariots will be — a disgrace to the house of your lord. I will remove you from your office; you will be ousted from your position.
“On that day I will call for my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and tie your sash around him. I will hand your authority over to him, and he will be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the house of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open. I will drive him, like a peg, into a firm place. He will be a throne of honor for his father’s family.
They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s family:
the descendants and the offshoots — all the small vessels, from bowls to every kind of jar. On that day” — the declaration of the Lord of Armies — “the peg that was driven into a firm place will give way, be cut off, and fall, and the load on it will be destroyed.” Indeed, the Lord has spoken.
Are you confused by anything you read from these chapters of Isaiah? If you are, then join the club. Prophecy can be maddeningly difficult to interpret, so much so that many avoid reading it altogether.
But prophecy was put there for a reason…after all, about a fifth of the Bible is prophecy. And Jesus expects us to discern the times, to be watchful, and to be ready for what will come. So it is our responsibility to read the prophecy in our Bibles and do our best to understand what God is trying to tell us.
How can we become more discerning? Here are a few tips:
First, don’t read prophecy from the perspective of a 21st Century person – it was written by Jews and deals with subjects from a Jewish perspective. We should do our best to put ourselves in their…er, sandals…when reading prophecy.
Second, read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament. The NT is newer and more complete and can shed light on confusing passages.
Third, and this is a biggie: let the meaning of the text inform your theology, and not the other way around. Don’t interpret a confusing passage in a way that causes it to fit in with your personal viewpoints. Let the scripture speak for itself.
A Good Study Bible
If you don’t already have one, get a good study Bible and a commentary or two. Enroll in a Bible study at your church dealing with prophecy. When all else fails, ask a trusted pastor. And understand that there are many things we will not have the answers to in this life. But there is always the next!
See You Tomorrow!
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will by changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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