Daily Readings & Thought for May 27th. “DAMASCUS WILL CEASE TO BE A CITY”
Several prophecies in Isaiah attracted our attention as we read our 2 chapters in Isaiah today. Damascus was the capital of Syria in those days – and still is today. We recall reading in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE that Damascus is the oldest most continuously inhabited city in the world and there is no evidence that it was ever destroyed like other cities.
But Isaiah is caused by God to write, “An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins” [Ch.17 v.1] We conclude that the fulfilment of this prophecy is likely to coincide with the climax of the ages, which, the way events are moving, may not be that far distant!
In reading parts of Isaiah we saw that some of the chapters should be broken into small sections. The division into chapters was only made when the Bible was first printed. As you read you can see where the different revelations the prophet received suddenly change. Often we have the phrase, “In that day” to indicate some distinct events to occur at a particular time. Verse 9 starts with “in that day” and from there to the end of the chapter is described “a day” (meaning ‘time’) when the enemies of Israel are judged. We read, “this is the portion of those who loot us, and the lot of those who plunder us.” [v.14] and while it had an application in the past, it surely it refers to a final event when Damascus becomes “a heap of ruins.”
Verse 3 is about a time in the future when “the remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel, declares the LORD of hosts.” Syria is linked with Assyria and tomorrow’s chapter (19) ends with a intriguing picture (in v.23) of a highway to be built “in that day” – the final verses telling us, “In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance”
This is the time of the resurrection when the faithful of all nations will be there – for surely over the millennia there have been many in Egypt and Assyria (which includes Babylon) who have known and served the true God. Let us commit our lives to God so that we will also be there.