March 29, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 29 March 2016
Economic concerns dominate our contemporary times. Politicians are frequently cautioned and reminded as follows: “people will vote their pocketbooks.” The church also can be lulled into religious traditions that result in a false sense of security. For instance, western nations tend to regard themselves as impervious to threats of attack and thus isolated from war. Political alliances are prioritized to keep nations exempt from the devastation of war. God’s Word cautions one against developing foolhardy and haughty attitudes, as evident in claiming exemption from the Lord’s day of judgment. Nothing can impede the day of the Lord when it arrives, regardless of a nation’s economic resources, geographical location, military supremacy, political alliances, or religious traditions. Consequently, the people of God are to trust the Lord’s Word, being dependent upon the Lord’s power, and thus are able to receive divine blessings.
Isaiah 13—23 contain a series of messages, which are primarily oracles or judgments against various Gentile nations. The emphasis within the prophecies is judgment, and thus the oracles should be given careful attention by all nations. One can be fairly certain that the foreign nations were not intended to read the judgments that God had decreed for them; rather, the intent of the messages was primarily to grant prophetic hope for the people of God. The expectation would be immediate for the original recipients of the divinely inspired messages in the days of the prophet Isaiah, and would also inspire future generations as they observed the fulfillment of the prophecies.
Within the eleven burdens (oracles) upon the nations, the prophet Isaiah demonstrated what would occur throughout the ensuing several generations in the Near East, as a consequence of the Assyrian invasion force whose armies were marching westward with a yearning for conquest and vengeance. Isaiah’s contemporaries would be able to evaluate the accurateness of his message, and thereby determine whether or not God had indeed revealed the burdens against the nations and was speaking those oracles to his people through the prophet. The prophet warned the southern kingdom of Judah not to become dependent upon foreign alliances; rather, the nation was to trust in the sovereign work of God on their behalf. God revealed his plans and purposes that would lead to the demise of the nations, and He most certainly would not violate his Word by deviating from his planned and purposeful tactics.
During the time in which Isaiah wrote, the great enemy of God’s people was Assyria, and thus announcing triumph over that power was ultimately a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ’s eschatological universal supremacy over all nations. Consistently throughout the book of Isaiah there is a reference to a future King, and He is consistently depicted as the one who will fulfill the Davidic Covenant, in addition to sitting forever upon David’s throne, which existence has always been historical. The prophet Isaiah has provided an intermittent foretaste of the circumstances in the last days when the nations will be judged once again for their actions.
God’s ultimate plan for his people includes both the judgment of sin and the redemption of those who are obedient to the gospel call. Nothing can prevent God from establishing his plan. Therefore, the perennial question is, “Who will trust the Lord God by rejecting all that is false, including confidence in economic and political powers to the negation of God’s supremacy”?
The message of the prophet Isaiah is to those who believe all hope is lost. He was cognizant how despair and fear can cause people to make foolish choices, such as seeking anyone or any nation who appears powerful enough to provide deliverance. The enemy of our soul uses similar tactics by making dangerous things appear safe. The enemy does not seek to scare us to death, but gives a false sense of security that the danger of a spiritual lapse is only minimal. For this reason, 1 Peter 5:9 exhorts believers to be resolute in their faith. The prophet Isaiah likewise encourages God’s people to pursue his divinely-given mission while we wait for the Lord’s timing to accomplish his plans and purposes.
God's Grace and Peace to You,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia