These two chapters contain an oracle against Moab. Moab was a small country East of Israel. Its founding can be traced back to Abraham’s nephew Lot (Gen.19:36, 37). So the Moabites were ”cousins” of the Israelites. What is more, David’s great-grandmother was a Moabitess (Ruth 4:13-17). But in spite of the blood relationship between the Moabites and the Israelites they remained perpetual enemies. Here are some thoughts from these two chapters:
How quickly everything we prize and live for can be over (1): ”destroyed in a night!”. Pride goes before a fall, and this was the predominant sin of Moab (16:6; see Prov.6:16, 17): ”We’ve heard – everyone’s heard! – of Moab’s pride, world-famous for pride – Arrogant, self-important, insufferable, full of hot air.” The Message. (See 1 John 2:15-17). Part of (16:14) reads like this in The Message: ”…that splendid hot-air balloon will be punctured…”
The futility of paganism (16:12; see also 15:2): In spite of God’s judgment on the Moabites, they still sought their gods. It was all futile, as it always will be. God’s disciplining and chastising work doesn’t always lead to repentance. Sometimes people just dig themselves deeper into their sinful holes. They’re not for vacating them at any cost!
Opportunity for repentance (16:14): Isaiah saw that this judgment would fall on Moab ”Within three years…” In the first place, the fulfilment of the prophecy would increase his credibility in the eyes of the people. But much more importantly, it would allow the Moabites time to repent and avoid the judgment (see 2 Peter 3:9).
The opportunity for refuge (16:1-4a): They should make peace with Judah (1, 2) and go to Jerusalem for assylum. God promised to protect Judah from the Assyrian army (10:24ff.) When God sends a word of judgment, He offers a way of escape, and gives time to do so.
The terror of judgment (15/16:7). We have an awful description of comprehensive grief. Look at the various references to weeping, wailing, lamenting, grieving, and crying out. So many Moabites would die that their blood would spill into the waters of the land (15:9). Isaiah could say that this time of trouble would eventually end (16:4b), but it would be desperate while it lasted. You will see how Isaiah’s heart broke for the grieving people of Moab (15:5; 16:5, 11). The Old Testament prophets took no pleasure in preaching God’s judgment. Isaiah’s heart cry surely reflects God’s own. He ”wants all men to be saved” (1 Tim.2:4). Think also about Matthew 23:37. We need to remember always that ”lost people matter to God.” Someone said: ”You will never lock eyes with anyone who doesn’t matter to the Father.” Isaiah is a challenge to us, raising the question: ‘How much do I care about people who don’t know Jesus?’ Their eternal destiny should be a matter of serious concern to everyone in the church. ”This is the only preaching which touches the heart of the unsaved. To announce their doom with metallic voice and unperturbed manner will only harden; but to speak with streaming eyes, and the eloquence of a broken heart, will touch the most callous. It is the broken heart that breaks hearts. Tears start tears.” F.B Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, p.275.
The coming of the Messiah (16:5): Isaiah looks way beyond the present trouble to a day when Christ will come and reign over both Judah and Moab, and ”justice” and ‘‘righteousness’’ will prevail. As ever in the prophetic writings, the light of hope shines brightly, even amidst the gloomiest gloom. We can thank God that it is so.
Prayer: Lord crucified give me a heart like yours.