Day 23 March 23


Day 23 March 23

Passage: Isaiah 46: 1-2; 47: 1-15
Verses 1 and 2 in Isaiah 46 inevitably perplex the reader, what is being conveyed?  Bel and Nebo were both Babylonian deities. Upon the erection of the victory flag of Cyrus, their statues likewise fell with the kingdom of Babylon during its defeat and destruction. With heads dropped, tied to beasts of burden and taken away in captivity, they resembled the people of Judah who, with their heads bent low, were crushed by the Babylonian army during the fall of the city of Jerusalem. Although Judah was destroyed by the mighty Babylonians, God still spoke through the prophets to His people, telling them that the idols, worshipped by the victors, would one day be in bondage too.

Chapter 47 reveals the life of the Babylonian princess who was of a highly privileged upbringing. First was the description of the splendor of great wealth painted in the most vivid language, followed by the oppressive and humiliating condition of the ordinary. The natives of Babylon had enjoyed unrivaled economic standards. The country itself had limited resources but relied instead on trade and exchange, and hence had acquired an endless supply of resources from other lands. However, with the country now defeated, the people were made to take on menial tasks performed in the past by their lowly servants, such as milling for flour (verse 2), wading across rivers, and getting themselves wet, much like those who had served them before.

Formerly placed in the international arena for their political prowess, economic development and their cultural glory, Babylon no longer enjoyed any of that as they ceased to be a superpower. Downtrodden, they were wordless and could only choose to be silent (verse 5). In the hour of unknowing, upon witnessing the calamity that had befallen them (verses 11), they found no escape route. There was only endless shame and silence.

All these words were spoken for Israel. In their circumstances, it was difficult to imagine that the Babylonian masters who were once tyrannical in their treatment would themselves be reduced to do a servant's work, and that they would lose their status in the international arena. Yet this is the way God works through the prophets—to sharpen the imagination of His people and restore hope in them.

Prayer: Lord, our imagination is insufficient. We are unable to go beyond the trappings of today to see that they too will lose prominence in the world.

第二十三天 Mar 23

经文:以赛亚书 46:1-247:1-15
461-2节必然让读者十分的困惑,究竟要写什么 ?   彼勒和尼波都是巴比伦的神,这些神像随着古列的得胜军旗高举,随着巴比伦帝国的失势,它们也被殃及!它们低着头,被捆在牲畜背上带走,就好像当年耶路撒冷城被攻下,犹大百姓低着头被巴比伦军队押走一般。巴比伦虽然曾经强大,让犹大国灭亡,但是上帝透过先知告诉百姓,这些强势的巴比伦人所朝拜的偶像,有一天要走向被囚禁之地啊。 47章揭示了发生在巴比伦这位养尊处优的女王身上的事。从荣华富贵到屈辱与平凡,以细腻的手法来表达出来。原本生活在巴比伦大城的人,有难以匹敌的经济水平。国家本身资源不多,都是靠着贸易来享受各地源源不绝而来的资源。但是随着国家失势,他们需要做从前由仆人来做的事情,譬如需要亲自去磨面粉(参47:2)、涉水过河、弄湿自己,一如过去服事过他们的仆人。原本在国际上政治与经济结构发达,文明远传,可是这一切不再,因为他们已经不是超级大国了。羞辱临到的时候,无话可说了,只能选择静默(参47:5)。在不知道的时刻,这一切祸患临到(47:11),无法逃离。这一切只会带来无限的羞辱与静默。

这一切的话,是说给以色列听的。在他们的处境,恐怕难以想象驾凌他们而上的主人,有一天竟会沦落到做仆人的工作,失去国际地位。但是上帝就是这样的透过先知来训练他们的想像力,带给他们盼望。

祷告:主啊,我们的想象力不够,看到今日的霸权,无法看到明日他们就失去国际地位了。 

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