In talking with several fellow believers, I found out that all of us have recently been ‘digging’ more deeply into the book of Isaiah, one of the oldest of the prophets. As I was reading chapter 13, it reminded me of an article I wrote a few months ago about Israel’s rise during Babylon’s Demise. But this particular chapter (13) highlights a very interesting comparison between what the rich merchants of the world aspire to do in creating their own Babylonian empire, and what YHVH is ‘up to’. “For your [Babylon’s] merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Revelation 18:23). The Greek word for sorcery is of course “pharmacia”. But in Isaiah 13 YHVH is describing another scenario which He casts for Babylon.
“And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when Elohim overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:19). “Behold, the day of YHVH is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it” (Isaiah 13:9).
“Thus I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud, and abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir” (Isaiah 13:11-12).
Sometimes I wonder, as we hear of how the rich merchants of the world and their political appointees are scheming to depopulate the world, while at the same time YHVH is basically saying the same thing, who is it that will actually carry out this plan? The Almighty, who is sovereign, may even use those very same conniving ones to accomplish His purposes. “Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely” (Psalm 141:10).
The daily News reports declare that the natural catastrophes that are befalling the world are caused by global warming, with some ‘rumors’ going around that the powers-that-be have been manipulating the weather. However, here is what YHVH says: “Therefore I shall make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of YHVH of hosts in the day of His burning anger” (Isaiah 13:13 emphasis added). So who is really in charge?
“Wail, for the day of YHVH is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will fall limp, and every man's heart will melt. And they will be terrified, pains and anguish will take hold of them; they will writhe like a woman in labor” (Isaiah 13:6-8).
Even though we are living in a world that is about to be shaken, if it is not already, we have a refuge, a strong tower, a solid rock, One who is faithful to carry us again to Himself on eagles’ wings (see Exodus 19:4). We are to be YHVH’s witnesses every day, bearing a testimony of His goodness and faithfulness. It is therefore imperative that at this time in particular we get to know YHVH’s many attributes. This will be especially important in the days and weeks ahead, as while His judgments fall on the wicked the conditions on earth will grow darker and darker. Many of the psalms are, and will be, encouraging and up-building during these troublesome times. For example it is good to know that YHVH is my… quoting from Prayer Psalm 18: … El Chizkee (my Strength). O YHVH, You are Sal’ee (my Boulder), and M’tzuda’tee (my Fortress), and Miphla’tee (my Refuge); Elee (my God), Tzu’ree (my Rock), in whom I seek refuge. You are, M’gee’nee (my Protector/Shield), and Keren Yish’ee (Horn of my Salvation), Misga’bee (my Stronghold). I will call upon You, YHVH - Elohey Yisrael, for You are worthy to be praised, for You are my all in all, in this way shall I be saved from my enemies” (1-3), and from all troubles and distresses.
From Prayer Psalm 46: “You, Elohey Ya’acov, are Miphla’tee (My Refuge), and Chizkee (my Strength), a very present help in trouble. For You, El Shaddai (Almighty), will make desolations in the earth, You will break the bow and cut the spear in two; You will burn the chariots in the fire, thus making wars cease to the ends of the earth. When You utter Your voice, the earth will melt, the nations will rage, and the kingdoms will be moved. But I pray, YHVH - M’gee’nee (my Protector/Shield), even though the earth be shaken and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea and its waters roar and be troubled; and even though the mountains shake with its swelling, I will not fear; because You, El Ne’eman (Faithful God), are with me”.
May we learn, like never before to lean on and draw near, to the One who says that He will never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).