2 Kings 16:19-20; 2 Chronicles 28:26-27; Isaiah 13:1-16:14
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HALF-WAY - Big news! We cross the halfway threshold in our Chronological Bible readings today! Whoo-hoo! Yep, June 30th marks the end of our first 6 months of readings and July 1st marks the beginning of our final 6 months of readings. Congratulations!
If by chance you’ve stopped reading the Chronological Bible at some point this past six months, how about starting back up with us again as we embark on our final six months? We’d love to have you on the journey with us once again! Let's go!
In Isaiah chapter 13 we are beginning a new section of the book. Chapters 1 through 12 were primarily chapters of judgment against the southern kingdom of Judah, as well as some mentions of the northern kingdom of Israel. Chapter 13 begins 11 chapters of judgment on other nations, beginning with Babylon. At this time in history (early 700's B.C.) Babylon was still part of the Assyrian empire. So this oracle from Isaiah was incredible in that it spoke of Babylon's destruction even before Babylon became a world power! Babylon brought about the downfall of Judah and Jerusalem later between the years of 605 and 586 B.C. But then Babylon would be conquered by Cyrus the Persian in 539 B.C. Below is a map of the Babylonian empire from the late 7th / early 6th centuries B.C. You'll note in this map below that the actual city of Babylon is located in modern day Iraq, about 90 kilometers south of Baghdad. An interesting quick history of the city of Babylon, along with some pictures, is at this website link.
An interesting commentary I read on chapter 14 verses 12 through 15 is that some think Isaiah is giving a description of the fall of Satan from heaven in these verses. However, most commentaries seem to say contextually that these verses are about the king of Babylon. I do see how some could think that these 4 verses could apply to the fall of Satan - ""How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, `I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.' But instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths." Below is an engraving titled "Satan Falls" by the artist Gustave Dore:
In Isaiah we will read many prophecies against cities and kingdoms. I realize these can be tough to read in some ways. As you read these prophecies, consider why these prophecies were written. Why were these prophecies proclaimed by Isaiah? Bible.org's excellent commentary on this section of the book of Isaiah titled "The Burdens Upon the Nations" is worth spending a few minutes reading at this link.
Today we read in Isaiah chapter 15 a message against Moab, or the Moabites! Now, the big question for each of us is how many sermons in your life have you ever heard that touch on the Moabites?? I will admit that there is only one I can think of - and I actually just heard it on my iPod while jogging yesterday! From a previous post, many of you know that I'm a fan of Josh Harris and listen to his sermons often. Well, he has a recent sermon about the Moabites from Numbers 22 through 25, where the Moabites were first fearful of Israel (Num. 22) because of their size, and they realized they could not defeat them in open warfare. So, they tried to get Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num 23 & 24), but Balaam wouldn't do it because God was giving him messages of blessings upon the Israelites! So, finally the Moabites decide to simply seduce the Israelites (Num 25) into worshiping their gods and this strategy worked! To the point where God ended up killing 24,000 Israelites with a plague (Num 25:9) because of their disobedience! Josh Harris does a great job of integrating this story of the Israelites and the Moabites into our lives and how we can fall prey to temptation just like the Israelites if we're not careful. You can download an MP3 of this great sermon on temptation at this link. And you can check out more of Josh Harris' sermons online at this link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/covenantlifechurch A very bright map that shows where Moab is located in comparison to Judah and Israel is below:
YouTube: As I mention Josh Harris above, here he is talking briefly about resisting temptation:
Are you struggling with temptation? Click here and struggle no more!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!