Enemies of Israel – Isaiah 17:12-14

Great Destruction Will Come Up Against Those Who Oppose Israel

12 Woe to the many nations that rage-
they rage like the raging sea!
Woe to the peoples who roar—
they roar like the roaring of great waters!
13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,
when he rebukes them they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,
like tumbleweed before a gale.
14 In the evening, sudden terror!
Before the morning, they are gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
the lot of those who plunder us.

Reckless Roaring

God does not take kindly to those who would overwhelm His people.  Even when He raises up those whom He would use to chastise Israel, their eventual end is destruction.  Even now, the offspring of Ishmael and many nations rage against Israel.  They roar against her like the sea of incoming tide, seeking to wash her from the face of the Earth, to remove her as her very presence is a painful thorn in their side.

The nations rage against her because they hate who protects her.  Her very presence, they beloved of God, is like the brothers of Joseph, watching him in his ornate coat, favored by their father, made them hate him and jealous of him.  And the nations do that today.  They fabricate lies against her and try to cheat her out of her inheritance – the land of Israel, given to her by The Lord God Almighty.  For years they tolerated her, broken and scattered among the people, scoffing at her and gloating over her as God disciplined her.  But when God did the impossible and gathered her again to her home and gave it back to her, it was too much for them to bear.  And even now, they seek to undermine, impugn, and utterly destroy what God has wrought – the fulfillment of His Holy Word.

Regal Rebuke

God, however, does not take this sitting down.  He has prepared a rebuke for the nations that oppress, antagonize, and refuse to recognize the sovereignty of Israel.  This is not some simple rebuke.  The people of the nations that are seeking the eviction and/or the eradication of every descendant of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (now Israel) will come under a most difficult rebuke.  They will come under a rebuke that is even more terrible than that which they intend to inflict upon Israel

Terrible Terror

God will drive Israel’s enemies far from their homes.  They will flee with such speed that they will look like tumbleweeds in a great windstorm.  They will fly under the pressure of God’s rebuke.  There will be sudden terror in the evening, when light has fallen and they cannot see their attackers.  Terror will fill their hearts, and in a measure that pales in comparison to what they intended for God’s people.  So swift will be their flight, that by morning they will no longer be there.  No one will be exempt – they will all flee.

Guarantee from God

God has declared that this is the portion, the judgment upon and rewards reaped from their actions.  Any who loot Israel, any who plunder her, will be utterly destroyed and driven from their homeland.  Because God’s judgment is not swift and immediate, the nations brag that God does not see, or does not exist, because they do not immediately reap the consequences of their actions.  They incorrectly interpret God’s grace and mercy for impotence or imagination.  But God will certainly cause this, for He has spoken it, and it is the portion of God’s enemies to be reaped in its proper time.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I praying for Israel’s enemies to repent?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are holy and righteous, and every word that You have ever spoken has or will come true.  Father, remember the enemies of Israel.  Plow through the hardness of their hearts so that they will be positioned to receive the seed of the Gospel.  Grant them mercy in their cruelty, that they would see how good You are.  And when it is time, Father, may your rebuke upon them be so overwhelming that the nations would tremble, and that the fear of You would come upon all the Earth.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Cry For Righteousness – Psalm 141:1-5

May God Guard Our Speech And Our Hearts From Wickedness

1 I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like
the evening sacrifice.

3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies.

5 Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
let him rebuke me-that is oil on my
head.
My head will not refuse it,
for my prayer will still be against the
deeds of evildoers.

Critical Cry

When we are in trouble, we cry out to God.  And that is the underlying desire that God places in our hearts – to seek Him out.  David, the Psalmist, cries out to God regularly, and petitions God to hear his pleas.  David remembered that God was sovereign, heard his cries, and would help him in his time of need:

6 In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Wonderful Worship

David requests that his prayers be like incense, a fragrant offering to God.  He also requests that his raised arms be like a sacrifice before God.  In his worship and pleading to God, the Psalmist seeks to pour himself out before God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to the Rock of his salvation.  David recognized the desire that God placed in his heart to please God in everything that He did.  That didn’t keep David from sinning, but his heart was constantly and consistently turning towards God.

Selective Speech

David asked that his mouth be guarded so that he would not speak evil from it:

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

David’s sense of God’s holiness and righteousness were paramount in how he lived his life.  We often carelessly say things to people.  David most likely did the same, and asked that God help him with that.  In addition to pleasing and honoring God in this, there is another good reason to ask for this ourselves:

36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Determine Desire

David then asks God to help protect his heart from desiring evil:

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

Apart from the protection of God in our hearts, they will become corrupt.  In the beginning, it was so bad, that God could only find eight people on earth who were righteous before He flooded it.  He also said something telling about humans as a race of people:

The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

This is NOT to say that God makes mistakes.  He knew that we would do what we would do before He created the Earth.  But the pain of watching sin take hold of the hearts of men and what they would do grieved God, even though He knew it would occur.  That is why He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to be our final and perfect sacrifice for sin.

God doesn’t make mistakes; He cleans them up.

Righteous Rebuke

David so greatly desired to he draw close to God and do God’s will that he would welcome a rebuke from a righteous man.  To do so would mean that David was somehow in sin, or doing something displeasing to God.  A rebuke from the righteous man would help him to straighten out whatever he was doing wrong, and therefore live in greater harmony with God’s character.  Oil on the head was used as anointing and healing, and David would indeed be blessed if sin that had blinded him was pointed out and addressed.

Evade Evil

David’s prayers were constantly towards the changing of hearts of those who were doing evil.  His prayers weren’t against the evil people per se, but rather against their evil actions.  And while David did get angry enough on at least one occasion to ask that the evildoers have their names blotted from the rolls of the book of life, he generally and genuinely desired that others would join him in his pursuit of God in righteousness and holiness.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I pleading for God to guard my mouth and heart so that I will not sin against him?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, time and time again Your word declares You to be holy and righteous.  Help me to have a better and deeper understanding of just how holy and righteous You are.  Reveal to me the ways that I sin against You so that I can address them and walk ever more closely with Jesus.  Please do not overwhelm me, but gently and gradually help me to not only desire to overcome my sin, but to replace the my sinful desires with a longing for You in my heart.  Holy Spirit, Overpower my wickedness with Your holiness, and strengthen me as I turn from all unrighteousness and walk towards Jesus.  Lord God Almighty, You and only You are able to help me to overcome, for You have overcome.  Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?