This morning, I was reading in Isaiah. This book is filled with references to Christ, but is also filled with references to destruction and grace. In the section I have been reading lately, a whole lot of destruction was going to come on nations that had committed sin, which God had had enough of. However, this morning’s reading was different. Yes there was the typical destruction and judgement passage, but today there were references to grace.
In the same breath that Isaiah was proclaiming destruction, God was proclaiming grace. In fact, in Isaiah 19, God is about to bring judgement on Egypt, but then suddenly the tables turn and references grace.
“I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 19:4 – NIV 1984). Then we see this later on, “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.” (Isaiah 19:19-20 – NIV 1984).
What a drastic change. On one hand, God is allowing Egypt to wither away at the hands of its ruler, yet He will hear their cries and will save them. However, with today’s political upheaval and weather related tragedies, is it that far fetched?
Is it possible that God is allowing the rulers of this day to oppress people to the point that they have no choice but to turn to the one and only true God and cry for help? Is it such a stretch to see that these strange weather related problems may be God’s way of placing us in situations that we have no choice but to cry to Him for help?
The story doesn’t end there. In Isaiah 21, the destruction of Babylon was foretold. In this chapter there is a watchmen that cries out, “Babylon has fallen, has fallen.” I wasn’t sure why this stuck out so I asked for clarification. I was led to Revelation 14. In this passage, we three different areas. First, we see the 144,000 witnesses singing to the Lord as the firstfruits. They are a special bunch. They did not defile themselves with women. In today’s terms, this could be a reference to those men who do not have a lust problem like so many men struggle with. Then they are considered pure. Finally, they follow Christ wherever He goes. They were and are completely devoted to Christ.
Next, we see three angels that have very specific function. The first angel was told to proclaim the “eternal gospel”. This seems to be a reference to a time when the message of Christ is proclaimed throughout the earth. This is what is happening today! We are witnessing the event as it is happening. Now this specific event can be considered a 2000 year work in progress, but today we hear and see people proclaiming Christ in virtually every country on the Earth.
Then we see something even more interesting. We see the second angel proclaiming, “Fallen! Fallen! is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” This is the same message spoken in Isaiah 21. I believe this may be occurring today as well. It is a time when God will allow the rulers of the earth to be an oppression to the people. A time when people will cry out to God because of the disaster that is falling upon them. We will have no choice but to cry out to God. (For those who study prophecy concerning the end times, this is not a reference to the wrath of God. That comes later in Revelation 14).
Finally, we see the third angel making a distinction between those who follow Christ and those who don’t. There will come a time when Christians will need patient endurance because of the destruction around them. There will come a time when people will be wondering why all this is happening. Remember at this point, the wrath of God has not even been poured out yet. Christians won’t be here for that. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t be part of the oppression and earthly disasters. It means that when this happens, we need to cry out to God on others behalf. It is our responsibility to pray for those who persecute and try to destroy us. It is our responsibility to shelter those who need a place to stay. It is our responsibility to feed those who are hungry. We cannot leave that up to other people who don’t know Christ. It is our responsibility.
I want this to be an encouragement to you today. So I asked what does this all mean? I think the message is very clear. We need to turn from our own wicked ways and turn to God. Why? First, He is the only One who can save us. Second, He is the One we need to cry out to. Third, He has commanded us to pray and support others who need help. Lastly, He is coming back soon. The last part of Revelation 14 shows us that Christ Himself will take us home. He will, one day, come back for us. I came across this passage, “And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.” (Philippians 2:24 – NIV 1984). Although this is from Paul to a specific church, it is also a message from Christ today. He is coming soon. We should not be surprised at that. He is coming back and that should encourage us to share His good news with someone today.
Be encouraged and God Bless.