Read Isaiah 15
A Prophecy Against Moab
15 A prophecy against Moab:
Ar in Moab is ruined,
destroyed in a night!
Kir in Moab is ruined,
destroyed in a night!
2 Dibon goes up to its temple,
to its high places to weep;
Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba.
Every head is shaved
and every beard cut off.
3 In the streets they wear sackcloth;
on the roofs and in the public squares
they all wail,
prostrate with weeping.
4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out,
their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz.
Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out,
and their hearts are faint.
5 My heart cries out over Moab;
her fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
as far as Eglath Shelishiyah.
They go up the hill to Luhith,
weeping as they go;
on the road to Horonaim
they lament their destruction.
6 The waters of Nimrim are dried up
and the grass is withered;
the vegetation is gone
and nothing green is left.
7 So the wealth they have acquired and stored up
they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars.
8 Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab;
their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim,
their lamentation as far as Beer Elim.
9 The waters of Dimon are full of blood,
but I will bring still more upon Dimon—
a lion upon the fugitives of Moab
and upon those who remain in the land.
The burden of Moab, which stretches through chapter 15 and 16 is one in a series of messages concerning the Gentile nations that surrounded Israel. For many of these tribes and countries, it meant a punishment and being permanently wiped out as a civilization, and for others it came as a judgment, restoration, and reappearance at a later time. The prosperous nation of Moab, which was a tribe formed by the offspring of Lot’s relationship with his daughter, is the object of Isaiah’s message in this chapter. We see the need for God’s judgment as they worshiped the idol god, Chemosh, and according to Jeremiah 48:29 (and even in the next chapter of Isaiah), “We have heard of Moab’s pride – how great is her arrogance! — of her insolence, her pride, her conceit and the haughtiness of her heart.”
In chapter 16, we learn that the punishment of Moab is finite and near, but the most remarkable aspect of this passage falls on verse 5, when the heart of God “cries out over Moab”. We see that although God’s judgment is always decisive and complete, he does not rejoice in punishing His people, even towards those who deserve it. David said of God in Psalm 103:10 that “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” God is slow to bring judgment, and even when that time comes, we see God’s tenderness towards His creation. And for the Moabites, the plan of God for Moab culminates in the next chapter with Isaiah’s ultimate messianic prophecy: “In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it.”
In fact, the mercy of God does not just extend to those who love Him. Matthew 5:45 says that “He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” In that agrarian society, He gave sunshine and rain to those who loved Him and those who despised Him in equal portions. As believers today, we can be sure that there will be an exacting judgment on the wicked one day, but He calls us to be generous, slow to anger, and loving to our enemies out of our love of God’s intentional creation and our ultimate belief in His sovereign purpose.
- In an ever increasingly polarized society, do you find the number of people you consider your enemies also increasing?
- What are practical ways to love our enemies?
- What do you think of God often blessing both the righteous and the wicked? How does it contrast with your own idea of fairness?
Did You Know?
Moab is now modern-day Jordan, which is located east of the Dead Sea.
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