Last night we were reading through Isaiah 13 in our read through the Bible in a year plan and I have to say it was a sobering experience. The section is all about God's judgement on Babylon but as with so much of Isaiah it looks forward to a greater fulfilment in our time. What God did to Babylon was awful but what lies ahead for us, if we keep on stubbornly going our own way and doing our own thing, is even worse.
Scream in terror, for the day of the Lord has arrived—
the time for the Almighty to destroy.
Every arm is paralyzed with fear.
Every heart melts,
and people are terrified.
Pangs of anguish grip them,
like those of a woman in labor.
They look helplessly at one another,
their faces aflame with fear.
For see, the day of the Lord is coming—
the terrible day of his fury and fierce anger.
The land will be made desolate,
and all the sinners destroyed with it.
The heavens will be black above them;
the stars will give no light.
The sun will be dark when it rises,
and the moon will provide no light.
“I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil
and the wicked for their sin.
I will crush the arrogance of the proud
and humble the pride of the mighty.
Doesn't this make the cross even more amazing? Jesus takes our punishment and bears it all so that we can be free. I still can't understand how anyone could think that's a bad deal. I am messed up and deserve punishment and he endures that punishment for me, the gift he offers is forgiveness and freedom from a crushing sense of fear as I look forward - how good is that!