Against Ethiopia

Isaiah 18:1–7 (NKJV)

18:1 Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings,
Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,
2 Which sends ambassadors by sea,
Even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying,
“Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin,
To a people terrible from their beginning onward,
A nation powerful and treading down,
Whose land the rivers divide.”

3 All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth:
When he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it;
And when he blows a trumpet, you hear it.
4 For so the LORD said to me,
“I will take My rest,
And I will look from My dwelling place
Like clear heat in sunshine,
Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
5 For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect
And the sour grape is ripening in the flower,
He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks
And take away and cut down the branches.
6 They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey
And for the beasts of the earth;
The birds of prey will summer on them,
And all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.

7 In that time a present will be brought to the LORD of hosts
From a people tall and smooth of skin,
And from a people terrible from their beginning onward,
A nation powerful and treading down,
Whose land the rivers divide—
To the place of the name of the LORD of hosts,
To Mount Zion.

Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Ethiopia is clear and specific, speaking about their particular and unique qualities (insects, shipping, powerful, tall, smooth-skinned).  He then speaks of God lifting up His banner, which is typically a sign of an army going into warfare.  As He looks down upon the nations, He sees Ethiopia and pledges revenge and devastation against them.  They will experience the heat and oppression of God’s wrath, with their harvest failing and their plants dying.  Animals will devastate the remains.  At that time a gift will be brought from Ethiopia to Mount Zion.

This language speaks of the eventual dominance of God and His people over all the earth.  While it did have significance for the people of that particular day, it also speaks to the futuristic kingdom of God on earth when all nations will bow before the Lord.  Be on the right side.  Follow God wholeheartedly and see His justice prevail!

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