Today: [Isaiah 16] Bringing the Lamb to the Lord. In this chapter Isaiah continues his prophecy over the nation of Moab. The nation of Moab has been under tribute to Israel and Judah since the time of David but during Hezekiah’s day they have refused to bring tribute. Isaiah prophesies the destruction of the nation of Moab because the lambs and rams they brought to Judah were accepted as sacrificial offerings for them in the temple of God. Now that these offerings have ceased there is no covering for the sins of Moab. The lambs that Moab was commanded to bring represent the Lamb of God that we are to bring to the Throne in expectations of cleansing and forgiveness. Too often we choose as Cain to bring of the fruits of our hands and wonder why our prayers are not answered. Today we learn that it is only the lamb that God will accept as tribute to those who call Him Lord and Master.
[Isa 16:1-14 KJV] 1 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. 2 For it shall be, [that], as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, [so] the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. 3 Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. 4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. 5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; [he is] very proud: [even] of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: [but] his lies [shall] not [be] so. 7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely [they are] stricken.
Isaiah is one of the least read, most quoted book of the Old Testament. Thus far Isaiah has prophesied to the city of Jerusalem, the southern kingdom, the northern kingdom with her capital in Samaria, to Syria, Assyria and Babylon which is to come. In chapter 15 he laments over Moab which is continued here in chapter 16. In this chapter Isaiah gives reason for why Moab will come to ruin and sets a specific time that it will happen. You often here in prophetic schools that it is wrong to set times and dates for prophetic words to come to pass. If that were true then many well known prophecies in the bible would have to be rejected as immature and wrong, for there are many time frames and dates set in the bible, many that have already come to pass and some that have yet to materialize.
Our chapter was written during a time that Moab was under tribute to Judah, the southern kingdom but is refusing to pay. Isaiah counsels Moab to pay the tribute due and to protect the interests of Judah against the Assyrians. Isaiah knows by the Spirit that Moab will rebel and sets a timeframe for their destruction. In this we see that Isaiah is not just a prophet to the court of the kings of the line of David, but is a prophet to the nations and it is to the nations that he prophesies with great boldness.
When verse 1 says “send the lamb to the ruler of the lamb” this is speaking of 2 Sam. 8:2 when David put Moab under tribute, from which they now rebel. When the kingdom was divided in Rheoboam’s time this tribute was given to the northern kings until 2 Kings 3:4,5 when they rebelled. Isaiah now calls upon the Moabites to pay their tribute to Hezekiah and warns that their nation will be destroyed by the hand of God if they refuse. This tribute was paid in lambs and rams which some commentators point out would have been used in some degree to offer up sin sacrifices for the transgression of the nation of Moab. Because this is withheld they shall now suffer unnecessarily. Other scholars translate “ruler of the land” as “the Christ of Israel” pointing out that Jesus was descended from Ruth the Moabitess and therefore the nation of Moab has its portion in the lineage of Christ Himself.
8 For the fields of Heshbon languish, [and] the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come [even] unto Jazer, they wandered [through] the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea. 9 Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. 10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in [their] presses; I have made [their vintage] shouting to cease. 11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. 12 And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail. 13 This [is] the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time. 14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant [shall be] very small [and] feeble.
If we can read this chapter and see Jesus as the Lord over the land of Moab to whom tribute is paid, what is our tribute? We teach that accepting Jesus as savior is also accepting Him as Lord. In ancient times it was a foregone conclusion that every lord exacted tribute upon His people. What tribute to we bring to the Lord Jesus Christ? When we read the story of Cain and Abel we find that Cain brought of the works of his hands. He wanted God to accept him because of what he could do and this is a mentality that exists today. Many bring God their good works, their religious perfections and moral excellence and they offer these as the basis on which they expect to have prayers answered and blessings come upon their lives. What of Abel’s sacrifice? Abel brought a lamb, and he was accepted because his sacrifice was not of the works of his hands but of the offering of sacrificial blood. What will we bring to our Lord today? Will we bring Him the works of our hands? Will we pray and remind God or expect Him to take notice what good Christians we have been of late, and expect him to answer our prayers based on the testimony of our own moral excellence? Or will we as Abel bring to the altar the sacrificial blood of Christ – pleading for clemency from God’s hand as the shed blood of His own son is the only thing that we have to offer – every other offering being loathsome and detestable to him? In Isaiah 64 the prophet laments the contamination of sin and offers up a great intercessory prayer for the mercy of God to be shown to all that look to Him:
[Isa 64:6-9 KJV] 6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And [there is] none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, thou [art] our father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand. 9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we [are] all thy people.
If our righteousness is as filthy rags before Him then what can we bring to give us entrance to His mercy? The only offering He accepts is that of the lamb. As Moab brought forth lambs and rams to king Hezekiah even so we bring forth by faith the shed blood of the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the earth. We know our good works can never leverage God to act in our behalf. We know that we all stand inexcusable before God. Our most lofty acts of selflessness are as defiled garments in His presence. The only sacrifice He accepts as binding in His dealings with us is the shed blood of His own son who died for the sins of the world and in fact died for our sins. To this the apostle Paul declares in agreement:
[1Co 1:30-31 KJV] 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
We do not glory in spiritual experiences. We do not glory in religious accomplishments or in our own moral excellence. We abandon all of these and to the throne of God we bring that one sacrifice that He accepts, the sacrifice of His son in our behalf. In sending Jesus to die for us He caused Jesus to become our righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Will we rebel as the Moabites did and refuse to bring the Lamb to the Ruler of the Land? Or will we come humbly, daily to the foot of the cross to plead God’s mercy not because of who we are or what we have done but who He is and what He has done for us in Christ?
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