God’s Vengeance

Isaiah 16:1–14 (NKJV)

16:1 Send the lamb to the ruler of the land,
From Sela to the wilderness,
To the mount of the daughter of Zion.
2 For it shall be as a wandering bird thrown out of the nest;
So shall be the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon.

3 “Take counsel, execute judgment;
Make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day;
Hide the outcasts,
Do not betray him who escapes.
4 Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab;
Be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler.
For the extortioner is at an end,
Devastation ceases,
The oppressors are consumed out of the land.
5 In mercy the throne will be established;
And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David,
Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.”

6 We have heard of the pride of Moab—
He is very proud—
Of his haughtiness and his pride and his wrath;
But his lies shall not be so.
7 Therefore Moab shall wail for Moab;
Everyone shall wail.
For the foundations of Kir Hareseth you shall mourn;
Surely they are stricken.

8 For the fields of Heshbon languish,
And the vine of Sibmah;
The lords of the nations have broken down its choice plants,
Which have reached to Jazer
And wandered through the wilderness.
Her branches are stretched out,
They are gone over the sea.
9 Therefore I will bewail the vine of Sibmah,
With the weeping of Jazer;
I will drench you with my tears,
O Heshbon and Elealeh;
For battle cries have fallen
Over your summer fruits and your harvest.

10 Gladness is taken away,
And joy from the plentiful field;
In the vineyards there will be no singing,
Nor will there be shouting;
No treaders will tread out wine in the presses;
I have made their shouting cease.
11 Therefore my heart shall resound like a harp for Moab,
And my inner being for Kir Heres.

12 And it shall come to pass,
When it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place,
That he will come to his sanctuary to pray;
But he will not prevail.

13 This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning Moab since that time. 14 But now the LORD has spoken, saying, “Within three years, as the years of a hired man, the glory of Moab will be despised with all that great multitude, and the remnant will be very small and feeble.”

This is a further indictment and prophecy of Moab.  Their sins have brought the judgment of God.  They will run for cover and not find it.  They will look for shadows, but the shadows will be for punishment.  In the end, there will be little left of Moab, for the judgment of God and the revenge of Israel will destroy all but a small remnant.  The Lord even puts a timetable in place.  In three years, the glory of Moab will be despised.

Again, this is a picture of God’s judgment on the enemies of His people.  It is important to see the power of God to protect and avenge His people.  When you face enemies and suffer pain or loss, do not fear or be dismayed.  God is working on your behalf.  Trust Him and believe in His care for you!

The Beautiful Puzzle Part Four – Effective Ministry

Notes from a sermon preached by Dr. Greg Sloop at the Kannapolis Church of God on November 26, 2017 in the AM worship service.

Ephesians 4:11–16 (NKJV)

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The Whole Body

16 from whom the whole body…

The Power of Unity
The Power of Agreement
The Power of Teamwork

Knit Together

…joined and knit together…

Together We Will
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
One in Him

Every Joint

…by what every joint supplies…

What is that in your hand?
What can you bring to the table?
What are you doing that you can do and do better?

Effective Work

…according to the effective working…

God’s Work is Important
God’s Work Matters
Excellence is God’s standard for us

Sharing for Growth

…by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Pulling One’s Weight
Building Up in Love

Takeaway Thoughts

The Whole Body Knit Together in Christ is God’s Plan
Every Joint Must Supply Its Share
Effective Work Leads to Growth

Against Moab

Isaiah 15:1–9 (NKJV)

15:1 The burden against Moab.

Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste
And destroyed,
Because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste
And destroyed,
2 He has gone up to the temple and Dibon,
To the high places to weep.
Moab will wail over Nebo and over Medeba;
On all their heads will be baldness,
And every beard cut off.
3 In their streets they will clothe themselves with sackcloth;
On the tops of their houses
And in their streets
Everyone will wail, weeping bitterly.
4 Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out,
Their voice shall be heard as far as Jahaz;
Therefore the armed soldiers of Moab will cry out;
His life will be burdensome to him.
5 “My heart will cry out for Moab;
His fugitives shall flee to Zoar,
Like a three-year-old heifer.
For by the Ascent of Luhith
They will go up with weeping;
For in the way of Horonaim
They will raise up a cry of destruction,
6 For the waters of Nimrim will be desolate,
For the green grass has withered away;
The grass fails, there is nothing green.
7 Therefore the abundance they have gained,
And what they have laid up,
They will carry away to the Brook of the Willows.
8 For the cry has gone all around the borders of Moab,
Its wailing to Eglaim
And its wailing to Beer Elim.
9 For the waters of Dimon will be full of blood;
Because I will bring more upon Dimon,
Lions upon him who escapes from Moab,
And on the remnant of the land.”

God’s judgment on His enemies is swift and powerful.  Moab is laid waste by the vengeance of the Lord.  This is how God responded to the enemies of His people in the Old Testament.  Some believe He still responds that way today, and the modern history of Israel shows that to be true in many ways.  However, what can this mean to the Christian today?  When the enemy, Satan, comes against you, you can count on God to work on your behalf and win the victory for you.  Trust in Him completely and do not falter in your faith, for God is working for you!

Mercy Wins

Isaiah 14

Isaiah opens this chapter with a promise of mercy from God to Israel of restoration and victory.  He prophecies the fall of the King of Babylon in unceremonious fashion.  He then goes on to describe the fall of Lucifer after his attempt to ascend into heaven and exalt his throne above the stars of God.  He wanted to be like the Most High, yet he was to be brought down to Sheol.  He will become a spectacle before all the people of the earth.

Isaiah goes on to foretell that Babylon and Assyria will be destroyed, along with Philistia.  This prophetic chapter speaks of the power of God to restore that which is lost.  When loss occurs by your own hand or by the merciless work of your enemy, God can forgive and/or restore your life, your nation, your world.  Follow God, repent and find His favor and mercy.  Mercy always wins!

The Day of the Lord

Isaiah 13

Isaiah writes of the day that the Lord will come against all the nations of the earth to destroy and mete out justice. He will bring His sanctified ones with Him and a multitude will come against the kingdoms. Great devastation and destruction will occur. The hands of the enemies will be limp, and they will try to flee to their cities and lands. The sky will be dark, and the proud will be punished. So many will be destroyed that men and women will be scarce in the earth. The heavens will be shaken, and the earth will move out of place. Children will be dashed to pieces, and gold and silver will have no value.

God says that He will destroy the great nations like Babylon like He did Sodom and Gomorrah. No tents will pitch there, and jackals and wild beasts will live there. The destruction is coming and it will be swift.

This futuristic prophecy is one that had some relevance to the day of Isaiah, but also has relevance for the last days as well. If this applies to the restoration of Israel and the destruction of Babylon, then that did occur for Judah to a degree. However, the day of the Lord will bring destruction in the last days as well when God returns to the earth to do battle at Armageddon and destroy the nations amassed in waiting for Him. Either way, the moral of the story is to be on the right side when that day comes: the side of the Lord!

Hymn of Praise

Isaiah 12:1–6 (NKJV)

12:1 And in that day you will say:

“O LORD, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’ ”

3 Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.

4 And in that day you will say:

“Praise the LORD, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

Isaiah includes a song in this chapter.  His previous chapter spoke of the judgement impending upon Judah, but then spoke of God’s restoration after said judgment.  This chapter then declares that God’s people will sing songs of praise to God in light of His restoration of Judah.  His anger has turned away, and God has saved and comforted His people.  In response, the people will declare His deeds to all and exalt His name.

When sorrow, tragedy, or judgment comes upon a people, a family, or an individual, it is difficult to see the good.  When we mourn, rejoicing is far from us.  However, it is imperative that we look beyond the bad days and realize that restoration is possible, even probable, if we trust God.  God is faithful, and even if we have brought pain upon ourselves, God will restore if we trust Him.  Keep your eyes looking just beyond your pain, and see the powerful Savior waiting on the other side!

The Rod of Jesse

Isaiah 11

Isaiah is full of Messianic prophecies pointing to the coming of Christ.  In this chapter, he begins with a reference to the rod or shoot of Jesse (King David’s father).  He will go with the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, with wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord.  He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and will judge righteously and with equity.  He will have great power, and will strike the earth with His rod, judging the wicked.  He will usher in a day of peace, where the lion, the calf, the lambs and wolves will lie down together.  The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and peace will reign.

In that day, the Root of Jesse will be as a banner of healing and righteous rule.  He will recover the remnant of His people from the corners of the earth.  The divided nations of Israel will come together and win over all the surrounding nations.

Isaiah 11:16 (NKJV)
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
Who will be left from Assyria,
As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.

This hopeful prophecy helps Israel and Judah realize that, although they have trangressed and been judged, that God will restore, and will use the great Messiah to do so.  Even though they do not yet recognize Jesus as their Messiah, one day He will rule and reign over a kingdom of peace.  Embrace Him today and receive His peace for yourself!