God’s Word of Justice
Isaiah 34:1-17: Today’s reading is in the form of an oracle in which punishment is pronounced on God’s enemies. Edom in particular is singled out for destruction, perhaps because it was believed that Edom had allied with Babylonia to defeat Judah in 587 B.C. The nation of Edom is usually described in the Bible as an enemy of Israel (see Numbers 24:18; 1 Samuel 14:47;2 Samuel 8:13, 14).
Come, people of all nations! Gather around and listen. Let the whole earth and everyone living on it come here and listen.
God Will Punish His Enemies
1Come, people of all nations! Gather around and listen. Let the whole earth and everyone living on it come here and listen. 2The Lord is angry with all the nations and all their armies. He has condemned them to destruction. 3Their corpses will not be buried, but will lie there rotting and stinking; and the mountains will be red with blood. 4 The sun, moon, and stars will crumble to dust. The sky will disappear like a scroll being rolled up, and the stars will fall like leaves dropping from a vine or a fig tree.
5 The Lord has prepared his sword in heaven, and now it will strike Edom, those people whom he has condemned to destruction. 6His sword will be covered with their blood and fat, like the blood and fat of lambs and goats that are sacrificed. The Lord will offer this sacrifice in the city of Bozrah; he will make this a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7The people will fall like wild oxen and young bulls, and the earth will be red with blood and covered with fat. 8This is the time when the Lord will rescue Zion and take vengeance on her enemies.
9The rivers of Edom will turn into tar, and the soil will turn into sulfur. The whole country will burn like tar. 10 It will burn day and night, and smoke will rise from it forever. The land will lie waste age after age, and no one will ever travel through it again. 11Owls and ravens will take over the land. The Lord will make it a barren waste again, as it was before the creation. 12There will be no king to rule the country, and the leaders will all be gone. 13Thorns and thistles will grow up in all the palaces and walled towns, and jackals and owls will live in them. 14Wild animals will roam there, and demons will call to each other. The night monster will come there looking for a place to rest. 15Owls will build their nests, lay eggs, hatch their young, and care for them there. Vultures will gather there, one after another.
16Search in the Lord's book of living creatures and read what it says. Not one of these creatures will be missing, and not one will be without its mate. The Lord has commanded it to be so; he himself will bring them together. 17It is the Lord who will divide the land among them and give each of them a share. They will live in the land age after age, and it will belong to them forever.
Today’s reading opens with a call to people everywhere to come and listen. Why are they being summoned? What is the message they are to hear? What is going to happen to the land of Edom?
Verse 8 says that “this is the time when the LORD will rescue Zion and take vengeance on her enemies.” (Zion means God’s people in Judah and Jerusalem.) What does this verse teach you about God?
Lord God, teach me to listen to your voice when you call. Summon me to listen to your teachings. In your great mercy, you have rescued me from my sins. I thank and praise you for your unfailing love and compassion. Amen.
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Isaiah 58:1-14: True worship is described.