2700 years on from the growing threat of Assyria, it is hard to appreciate the impact it had on the world. But as we read Isaiah, we realise numerous nations were affected: Israel, Judah, Syria, Philistia, Ethiopia, Egypt.
Isaiah 17-18 give us God’s burden for Damascus and Ethiopia. Each of them would attempt to stand up to Assyria and each would fail. Damascus would ally with Israel, the northern kingdom, and be defeated. This was all part of God’s plan to humble Israel for their idolatry. Finally, after crushing defeat, they would ‘look to [their] Maker’ and ‘have respect to the Holy One of Israel.’ (17:7)
Ethiopia would send aid to help stop Assyria (18:2), but it would not be enough. Despite multi-national alliances, the only hope for the world was God. He would wait and watch, and when the whole world was watching (18:3), then He would do the impossible. In one night, He would wipe them out (Isa 37:36-37). The next morning, the trouble would be gone (18:14).
God did of all this to punish sinners, to show the world His power, and to bring Himself glory. He wants all nations to know who He is and to come and worship Him. Read how the nation of Ethiopia will come to Zion with a present for the Lord:
“In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts Of a people scattered and peeled, And from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; A nation meted out and trodden under foot, Whose land the rivers have spoiled,Isaiah 18:7
To the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion.”
Questions for us to consider today:
- As we see various things happen in our world, can we see the bigger story unfolding – a story designed to bring God ultimate glory?
- Are we looking to our Maker? Or are we trusting in other things – idols that cannot save – things like our job, our health, our savings, our intelligence, our education, our politicians?
- Will we praise the real King, the great King, the One that all the earth should and will worship one day – the Lord Jesus Christ? Only He is worthy!