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  • Writer's pictureLeon Valley Church of Christ

I Weep For Moab

Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for over your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased. And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting. Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth. And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail. This is the word that the Lord spoke concerning Moab in the past (Is. 16:9-13).

Though the it is the Lord's judgment that Moab should fall for its sin, and He would execute that judgement imminently, yet He still has sorrow for the people who have chosen the path to destruction.

These verses are just one small portion from a passage in Isaiah wherein the prophet announces God's judgement upon Israel and Judah for their sin. He details which nations will execute his plan and the order that cities will be conquered, and how the people of each nation will suffer as history unfolds. Though He will orchestrate all of these events, He is not a God who relishes the punishment of His creation. Rather He moans, and drenches them with His tears.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8): The God who sent warning after warning, the God who was ignored time and again, and the God who finally delivered retribution is the same God Christians worship today. He is “The LORD, the LORD God, is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion and faithfulness, maintaining loving devotion to a thousand generations, a forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished..." (Ex. 34:6-7).

This is who He has always been, long before you and I were ever here, and this is who He always will be. A God who graciously extends the invitation, offering fellowship with Him through His Son (Rom 5:1-2), warning of the consequences of refusal (2 Thess. 1:8), and ultimately making good on that promise (Heb. 9:927-28; 12:27-29). Now, just as then, it won't be something He relishes in a vindictive spirit. He desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim. 2:4), as He has said so long ago...

"Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" (Ez. 18:23)

"Cast away from yourselves all the transgressions you have committed, and fashion for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death, declares the Lord GOD. So repent and live!" (Ez. 18:32-33)

It should not surprise to find this same spirit in Christ as He declares: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling!" (Matt. 23:27)

Earlier in this same passage Jesus pronounces many woes upon the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy and destructive ways--"woe" is an expression of indignation and sorrow. They had made themselves and others miserable when they didn't have to, and staying the course would result in eternal condemnation for them and all who followed.

He is still patiently waiting (2 Pet. 3:9). He still extends the invitation to join Him (Rev. 22:17). He still offers salvation for all (Acts 2:38-39). He still will judge 2 Cor. 5:10). He will "by no means leave the guilty unpunished." Why not turn from the misery of sin and find peace in Him? You not only stand to gain everything by your obedience to Him, but you stand to lose everything by refusing.

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