He Paints a Clear Picture…

Isaiah 17:1–14 (NKJV)

17:1 The burden against Damascus.

“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city,
And it will be a ruinous heap.
2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken;
They will be for flocks
Which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.
3 The fortress also will cease from Ephraim,
The kingdom from Damascus,
And the remnant of Syria;
They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

4 “In that day it shall come to pass
That the glory of Jacob will wane,
And the fatness of his flesh grow lean.
5 It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain,
And reaps the heads with his arm;
It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain
In the Valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it,
Like the shaking of an olive tree,
Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough,
Four or five in its most fruitful branches,”
Says the LORD God of Israel.
7 In that day a man will look to his Maker,
And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
8 He will not look to the altars,
The work of his hands;
He will not respect what his fingers have made,
Nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.

9 In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough
And an uppermost branch,
Which they left because of the children of Israel;
And there will be desolation.

10 Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
And have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold,
Therefore you will plant pleasant plants
And set out foreign seedlings;
11 In the day you will make your plant to grow,
And in the morning you will make your seed to flourish;
But the harvest will be a heap of ruins
In the day of grief and desperate sorrow.

12 Woe to the multitude of many people
Who make a noise like the roar of the seas,
And to the rushing of nations
That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters;
But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind,
Like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
14 Then behold, at eventide, trouble!
And before the morning, he is no more.
This is the portion of those who plunder us,
And the lot of those who rob us.

Isaiah shares the word of the Lord against Damascus, Syria.  He begins by sharing that the city will no longer exist, but be a heap of ruins.  He goes on to speak of how the glory of Jacob will wane, and the harvest will be ruined, with only a few grapes and olives left to gather.  This ruin will cause Israel to turn back to the Creator, the Holy One of Israel, with respect.  Israel will forsake their idols and incense altars.  With this revival among the Jews, the cities of those who vanquished them will be desolate.  Their gardens will also fail, and grief and desperate sorrow will overtake them.  The noisy armies, multitudes of nations, will be rebuked by God and flee away.  In a night, the loss will occur like a whirlwind sweeping through a land.  This chapter makes it clear that God knows exactly what He will do and what He is doing.  God is specific and clear, and carries out His plans with excellence.  Give Him your allegiance.  Serve Him gladly.  Do not rebel or serve other Gods, for judgment can still fall.  Instead, serve Him gladly and walk in His ways.  If you do receive His chastening or judgment, repent and watch the restoration of God occur, even winning the victory over your enemies.  He is sovereign and He is mighty!

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