[CF Devotionals] 2010-02-06 - In A Night

Isaiah 15:1, “The oracle concerning Moab. Surely in a night, Ar of Moab is devastated and ruined; surely in a night, Kir or Moab is devastated and ruined.”

The Moabites are the descendants of Lot by his oldest daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). Moab was born to them about the time of Issac. His descendants lived near the Dead Sea and bore his name. They were the enemies of Israel, and they show up all throughout the Old Testament. Chapters 15, 16 of the book of Isaiah relate some of God’s judgment upon them by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser, who plundered their dwellings, making them desolate. In these chapters in Isaiah, we have God warning them and reasoning with them. God is full of compassion. We even read in Isaiah 15:5, “My heart shall cry out for Moab.” The destruction approaches. It will be devastating. They deserve it for the way they have treated God and His people. But God is filled with sadness at what He is bringing upon them in punishment. The prophecy underscores the destruction of Moab, and Jeremiah 48 relates an even greater destruction of Moab, about 100 years later.

In the above verse, we have the phrase “surely in a night,” stated twice. It happens suddenly and unexpectedly. We sleep securely in the night, and this night spoken of comes upon them in their security. The most terrible things come to them when they are most secure. Their principal cities are destroyed. The verses following in Isaiah 15 relate the great mourning that resulted. The weeping, shaving of the head and beards, girding themselves in sackcloth, “everyone is wailing, dissolved in tears,” Isaiah 15:3. Can it get worse? Yes, it can, Isaiah 15:6, “There is no green thing.” Man (via the Assyrians) and God conspire to destroy them for their rebellion. It is an awful picture that is painted in Isaiah 15, 16.

How about you? Certainly this passage teaches us that God’s wrath can be kindled, from our perspective, suddenly. It was not sudden. The Moabites had been storing up wrath for this day, by their sin, and yet it seemed to come upon them suddenly. God only endures rebellion against Him for so long. This passage screams this out to us. He offers forgiveness through Christ, but even followers of Christ often find justification for their sin. God sees it all. He knows our hearts. He misses nothing. There is not even a hair on our heads that escapes His notice.

What can we learn from the Moabites? Why is this passage included in the Bible? It is certainly there for our instruction. In one sense, it seems it is there to us as a warning. We will not prosper long in our rebellion. We are admonished time and time again, through the history recorded in the Old Testament, to return to the Lord. Will we? For those who reject the wisdom of God, there is left “no green thing.” However, the promises are just as vivid, “His ways prosper at all times,” Psalm 10:5. Let us remember this, as we consider Moab.

Soli Deo Gloria,

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