Reading through the Bible together
Isaiah is not finished with what he said in the precious chapter about God punishing the Moabites. Extra information on these two chapters is found in 2 Kings 17 and 18 when Hoshea reigned over the Northern Kingdom of Israel from Samaria. Later, Hezekiah reigned as King of Judah from Jerusalem. The people of Samaria did not fear the Lord as they should have and while they did respect the Lord they also worshiped idols. They made gods of their own and put them in the houses of the high places and carried out their rituals. Finally, God allowed the Assyrians to come, conquer Samaria, and taking many of the people captive.
God was in tears over Samaria and what His people had done going to the high places worshipping their gods. Now thousands were taken captive and taken away by the Assyrians. Unfortunately, the people in Jerusalem and Judah in Isaiah’s time were doing the same thing—acknowledging God and worshipping idols—as the people in Samaria and the Northern Kingdom had done.
God, having brought judgments on Moab also as mentioned previously (Chapter 15), urges Moab to listen to counsel, surrender its pride and haughtiness, and to be kind to the people of Jerusalem and Judah, particularly to those living among them. The counsel of the Lord to Moab is intended to ease their punishment and pain by sending a lamb, seeking the friendship of Jerusalem “the daughter of Zion” (Isaiah 16:1) If not, further judgments will come and the Moabites shall wail and her gods will not deliver them (vs. 3a, 6a, 7a).
When Isaiah mentions the word “destroyer” (v. 4a-b), he wishes to place a center piece in his message that goes beyond local history. This speaks of Satan and his helpers, the worldly empires that he uses. Isaiah looks down the corridors of time in this vision and saw “the oppressor has come to an end” (verse 4c). Isaiah saw that “a judge will sit on the throne, seeking justice and righteousness” (verse 5b-d). This is Christ the son of David, the Messiah. He will sit on the throne “of truth” in the tabernacle of David. He is also our Advocate in heaven “who is seeking justice and prompting us to righteousness (verse 5b-d).
In verse 7 Isaiah is back to God’s judgments against Moab and the reality of Satan’s part stirring up the nations. While Isaiah explains the punishment of Moab, with no more harvests and no more joyous singing (vs. 7a – 8b), again he wishes to go beyond the harsh realities of this world with realities in heaven: God’s heart is pained and He cries (verse 9-11); “Therefore I will weep . . . drench you with my tears” for your joy was taken away (verse 10a). God said, “I have made the shouting [of joy] to cease” (verse 10d). It is clearly because of His punishment.
God says His heart sounds the sad music of a harp as He feels for the people of Moab (verse 11a-b). Satan rejoices in their destruction, God laments for their suffering. The reason for all this reality in Isaiah’s time is because of the high-places where people go to their idol temples to pray (verse12c). Isaiah indicates that “within three years . . . Moab will be degraded.” That’s when the commander of the Assyrian army came to Ashdod and took it. Only a remnant of Moab will be left, and it will be very small (verse 14).
Moab brought upon themselves the harsh punishment permitted by God and carried out by Satan. We know that behind all this suffering are the designs of Lucifer. Lord, help us to cast our sight higher, to Your heart cry and tears shed on our behalf. Amen.
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea