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Monday, June 6, 2011

Isaiah 17: A Prophecy Against Damascus

      God's message to Damascus is that it will be completely destroyed. The Arameans had turned away from God who could save them, preferring to depend upon their idols and their own strength instead. 
      So often people in the world today depend on the power and wealth that they have accumulated, and all the trappings of success in order to find happiness, only to find that it eludes them. God says that if we depend on temporal things in order to give us eternal security then we will reap grief and pain.
      The Asherah poles (verse 8) were images of the Canaanite goddess, Asherah, who was the female consort of Baal. The cult encouraged sexual immorality and attracted many followers. Any religion which is based on sexuality and sexual practises is a problem in our world today. Many people are addicted to pornography, and the so-called 'mild' pornography is finally being recognised for the danger it poses, especially to children and young people. 
 1 A prophecy against Damascus:
   “See, Damascus will no longer be a city
   but will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted
   and left to flocks, which will lie down,
   with no one to make them afraid.
3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
   and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
   like the glory of the Israelites,”
            declares the LORD Almighty.
 4 “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
   the fat of his body will waste away.
5 It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
   gathering the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain
   in the Valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet some gleanings will remain,
   as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
   four or five on the fruitful boughs,”
            declares the LORD, the God of Israel.
 7 In that day people will look to their Maker
   and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
8 They will not look to the altars,
   the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles
   and the incense altars their fingers have made.
 9 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.
 10 You have forgotten God your Savior;
   you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
   and plant imported vines,
11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
   and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
yet the harvest will be as nothing
   in the day of disease and incurable pain.
 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.

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