Judgment of Ethiopia

Peanut’s cartoon: Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, “Go get me a glass of water.” Linus looked surprised, “Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me.” “On your 75th birthday,&quo … More

Hope

The prophet now turns his attention to the land of Ethiopia (Cush). Cush is a land that included modern Ethiopia, the Sudan and Somalia.  the land shadowed with buzzing wings possibly refers to locusts and probably pictures the armies of Ethiopia. The king of Ethiopia had heard that Assyria’s great army was marching south towards them. He sent messengers up the Nile asking the surrounding nations to form an alliance (vv. 1-2). Isaiah exhorted the Ethiopians to go home and not to try to form this alliance because the Lord would defeat the enemy at the proper time (v. 3).

At this point it seems that God is really calling His hears to view things from a divine viewpoint rather than trusting in alliances and other powers (v. 4). The Lord promised through Isaiah that when the time would come to fight the Assyrians, they would know it and would see the enemy fall.  However, the Assyrian army first had to complete the task God had for them; to punish the people of Israel by taking them captive. Once God’s purposes had been accomplished, He would intervene and cut them off (v. 5), just when they, like grapes, were beginning to ripen. Even though Isaiah illustrates this failure by that of a destroyed crop which is cut down, even before the time of her ripening, he ends with a message of hope (vv. 6-7). The very people who from their position of strength had sent word to Judah to cooperate in a military venture would come again with gifts for the true God of Zion. The prophet looks to a day when the Ethiopians would pay tribute to the Lord and would come to “Mount Zion.”

Application

It is always best to wait on the Lord and not to run ahead and try to take things into our own hands like the Ethiopians did. I need to learn to operate on God’s time table and not on my own. I should never try to take care of my enemies, but let God take care of them in His time. He will do a much better job than I can.

Isaiah 18:1-7 (English Standard Version)

Ah, land of whirring wings that is beyond the rivers of Cush, which sends ambassadors by the sea, in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide. All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when a signal is raised on the mountains, look! When a trumpet is blown, hear! For thus the LORD said to me: "I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away. They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them. At that time tribute will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts.

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