Mississippi Shrinking (12.31.12)
"Ah, land of whirring wings beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, (2) sending ambassadors by the Nile in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, who lands the rivers divide." (NASB)
"The army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for keeping the shipping channel open, says the drought's effect on the river is 'equal to or worse than any in the past five decades.' " latimes.com 12.29.12 (Mark Twain's novels have all gotten shorter)
God is trying to tell us something in the good old U.S.A. through Isaiah 18.
Isaiah 18,1 tells us that Ethiopia-Egypt in the 7th century are frantically sending ambassadors to Israel to enlist it in a military alliance against Assyria. This is the unfaithful behavior of the nations of the world, and the powers that influence them, then and now, particularly in the last one hundred years when the industrial revolution made war so farflung and deadly.
Isaiah's message is trust in God, not in war.
Verse 2 is Israel's faithful response.
Israel is to send messengers back and tell them there's coming a season of chastisement and corrections for always positing the spectre of war.
Israel, as the prophet Isaiah repeatedly implores, is not supposed to be like the nations. She is to trust in God's protection and might and not make profane alliances, that spring from the minds of men, Isaiah 7,9.
(For a fuller treatment of this subject please go to "Upper Room" tab at left and click on "Even the Most Powerful Must Trust In God.")
In the present day, we in the good old U.S.A. are the most powerful nation in the world, and yet our war policies have been like Ethiopia of Isaiah 18,1, a frantic chase that has cost too many human lives, given on a worldy altar of ever shifting alliances.
So, it is a welcome reality that President Obama has resisted further military actions in the mideast and he seems, in fact, to be seeing the cultural, political-diplomatic and the environmental deficits of endless war (now if we could dial back the droning, too).
Yet, we in the U.S.A. also seem stuck in a similar chastisement of the nations in Isaiah 18.
Our chastisement seems to have visibly begun when the Wall Street banks started imploding in 2007, and when people started taking out $150 billion from the stock market as they have done in each of the last three years (CNN 12.31.12), and as the fiscal cliff sobers us about our future public and private finances.
(I won't mention Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy, but wow, so much global warming so fast?)
What about the droughts that have lowered the level of the Mississippi, our chief commercial river, which divides the center of our country, like the Nile does Egypt? (Isaiah 18,2)
The engineers are blasting out limerock to make the Misssissippi deeper for 2013.
But take heart U.S.A.- Isaiah 18 ends on a note of salvation after the time of chastisement, after pruning (v. 5), after seeing the merciful God of Israel as the God of all:
"At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts." v. 7. NASB
Isaiah 18 series:
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...