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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « What is Faith? Part 1: According to the Gospels | Ancient Magical Rituals (should) Have No Place in Church »
    Tuesday
    Aug022011

    A Word for the Church: Isaiah 22 & The Valley of Vision

    I've been reading back and forth between Isaiah and the Gospels lately. When reading Isaiah 22, I was struck by something in verses 1-14. This is a prophecy concerning Jerusalem and it comes in the middle (chapter-wise) of prophecies and judgements against other nations.

     

    I was especially interested in the term "the Valley of Vision" since I didn't recall reading that term anywhere else. It turns out this is a poetic name for Jerusalem, a city surrounded by mountains. As I read, I saw a lot of parallels between Jerusalem at this time and the modern Church.

     

    1 An oracle concerning the Valley of Vision:

       What troubles you now,
       that you have all gone up on the roofs,
    2 O town full of commotion,
       O city of tumult and revelry?
    Your slain were not killed by the sword,
       nor did they die in battle.
    3 All your leaders have fled together;
       they have been captured without using the bow.
    All you who were caught were taken prisoner together,
       having fled while the enemy was still far away.
    4 Therefore I said, “Turn away from me;
       let me weep bitterly.
    Do not try to console me
       over the destruction of my people.”

     5 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day
       of tumult and trampling and terror
       in the Valley of Vision,
    a day of battering down walls
       and of crying out to the mountains.
    6 Elam takes up the quiver,
       with her charioteers and horses;
       Kir uncovers the shield.
    7 Your choicest valleys are full of chariots,
       and horsemen are posted at the city gates;
     8 the defenses of Judah are stripped away.

       And you looked in that day
       to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest;
    9 you saw that the City of David
       had many breaches in its defenses;
    you stored up water
       in the Lower Pool.
    10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
       and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
    11 You built a reservoir between the two walls
       for the water of the Old Pool,
    but you did not look to the One who made it,
       or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

     12 The Lord, the LORD Almighty,
       called you on that day
    to weep and to wail,
       to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.
    13 But see, there is joy and revelry,
       slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,
       eating of meat and drinking of wine!
    “Let us eat and drink,” you say,
       “for tomorrow we die!”

     14 The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

     

    Basically, the passage is chastising Jerusalem for partying hard although they know they are surrounded by enemies. They have left their defenses down so long, their main defense (the city wall) is full of holes, the men are out of fighting practice, and all the leaders fled and were captured without a fight some time ago.

     

    If the slain were not killed in battle, could they have died from street brawls or sickness? In other words, the inhabitants (God's chosen) are killing each other.

     

    War is inevitable, so the people desperately tear down houses to patch the wall, and make a reservoir of water in case of siege. They look to their weapons and defenses for help, but the city of Jerusalem, God's chosen people, fail to look to Him in their time of trouble.

     

    God wanted them to ask for help, repent of their sins, and seek Him. But rather than acknowledge their own God (the One they also chose in the Covenant), they decide to give up, persist in sin, and keep on partying until they die.

     

    Because of their stubbornness, God says their death (which they are resigned to anyway) can be the only atonement for their sin.

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