Isaiah 17:12-14 Burden of Damascus: Raging Waters

Isaiah 17:12 Alas, the uproar of many peoples who roar like the roaring of the seas, and the rumbling of nations who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters!

The verse starts with a comment in the original Hebrew that should gain attention. “Hey, you are as good as dead!” Others have taken this to be a funeral cry. Either way, our translators have obviously softened this. This point is emphasized twice in the verse. Essentially God is telling them they can make all the noise they want, they are still going down. The nations can shout louder and longer, but it does not matter.

At this point, many people from many nations are now involved. There is irony and symmetry to these events in the future. People are acting like rushing and rumbling waters. God gives them rushing and rumbling waters.

Luke 21:25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves…” These are the words of Jesus. He is referring to a time coming where people will be freaking out because of the physical waves of the ocean. We can think of the possibilities: hurricanes, tsunamis, Noreaster. Do people freak out in today’s world when these events happen? Just watch the news. We have reporters on site to show you “Live!” These are not your garden variety events. The events appear to be global in nature. The text says nations, plural. The description in the Greek indicates the nations responses to the magnitude of the events: dire straits, anguish, dismay, anxiousness, and perplexity. The MSG translates this verse as “It will seem like all hell has broken loose–sun, moon, stars, earth, sea…”

Isaiah 17:13 The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters, but He will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, or like whirling dust before a gale.

Chaff is the husk, stalk, and other light weighted material that is separated from the grain. In those days grain and chaff were separated on a threshing floor. A person would beat and whip the stalks of the plant to separate out the grain. The wind would blow away the lighter material and the heavier grain would fall to the floor for collection.

Whirling dust, sounds like a tornado. This is how God will address them. They will be beaten to the point of separation and blown away by a powerful and destructive wind.

Isaiah 17:14 At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us and the lot of those who pillage us.

These events will take place suddenly and within the scope of a few hours. The anxiety happens as the sun is setting. There is a period of darkness and calamity over the night. When the sun comes up, it is over and they are gone. A reminder that Genesis 12:3 still applies, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

There is good news after all of this destruction.

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2 Responses to “Isaiah 17:12-14 Burden of Damascus: Raging Waters”

  1. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!|

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