The Destruction of Israel

I saw the Lord standing beside[a] the altar, and he said:

“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
    and shatter them on the heads of all the people;[b]
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
    not one of them shall flee away;
    not one of them shall escape.

“If they dig into Sheol,
    from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
    from there I will bring them down.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
    from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
    there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
    there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
    for evil and not for good.”

The Lord God of hosts,
he who touches the earth and it melts,
    and all who dwell in it mourn,
and all of it rises like the Nile,
    and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;
who builds his upper chambers in the heavens
    and founds his vault upon the earth;
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
the Lord is his name.

“Are you not like the Cushites to me,
    O people of Israel?” declares the Lord.
“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
    and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?
Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
    and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
    except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”
declares the Lord.

“For behold, I will command,
    and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
    but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
    who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’

The Restoration of Israel

11 “In that day I will raise up
    the booth of David that is fallen
and repair its breaches,
    and raise up its ruins
    and rebuild it as in the days of old,
12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom
    and all the nations who are called by my name,”[c]
    declares the Lord who does this.

13 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper
    and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
    and all the hills shall flow with it.
14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
    and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
    and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant them on their land,
    and they shall never again be uprooted
    out of the land that I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.

 

–Devotion–

Destruction and restoration.  It has been some time that God has been threatening to come down, but now it will finally happen.  He is coming to fold up the tents of the Israelites for a time, and wipe them off the map.  The “sinful Kingdom” will meet its end, and there will be no place to run.  Not Sheol (which is an ancient Israelite term for the place dead people go.  It is much like the way we use the term heaven.  A place dead people go no matter their place before the one true God), nor will they be able to climb high enough into the heavens.  This is perhaps a reference all the way back to Babel.  What is more intriguing is the last line of God’s promised threat, “All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’”  If God kills all the Sinners in Israel won’t he have to kill everyone?  Apparently not.  If he did that then there would be no one left to hear his promises in the following section. 

He promises to restore the people and the land.  With the promise that they will never again be uprooted.  Now, that promise does not seem to be fulfilled yet.  This is exactly why the writer of the Hebrews extends this promise of land and security to the Hebrew Christians.  Indeed, the promise of land and peace does extend to all Christians.  As we await the day when God will come back and give us promised rest and security in a new and recreated Earth.

Pastor Beltz

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