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Isaiah 21 – How to Survive the Hard Times 以赛亚书 21 – 在困难的日子要如何活下去              

Tuesday, 10th May 2022

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

Section One V1-10 To Observe, to be Alert

When the Israelites became slaves to the people of Babylon, they lost hope, but God was reminding them not to give up. Even though the lives may not be what we expected but we must observe the works of God and be alert in our spirit. God did not create us to accept our status quo, to give up when things don’t turn up as what we desired, what we prayed for or what we expected. Do not try to find an easy way out, but believe God’s promise will be revealed. How do we have this faith? We must know the Name of God: Jehovah Rapha, He is our Healer, Jehovah Jireh, He is our Provider; Jehovah Shalom, He is our Peace…

Passover was to commemorate how God led the Israelites out of Egypt, how God struck all the firstborn in Egypt and spared the lives of the Israelites so they could leave the country of slavery. But in the times of Isaiah, the Israelites were enslaved by Babylon, and they lost the hope to fight. Often when times go by, when we do not see hope, we lost the motivation to fight, and we give up. V1-2 ‘The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea. As whirlwinds in the South pass through, so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land. A distressing vision is declared to me; the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunderer plunders. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media! All its sighing I have made to cease.’ God was telling His people to stop hiding, and stop running away from problems.

V6-7 ‘For thus has the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees.” And he saw a chariot with a pair of horsemen, a chariot of donkeys, and a chariot of camels, and he listened earnestly with great care.’ God wants us to be alert, to watch, to pray and to listen! During difficult times, we must set ourselves apart as holy, do not conform to this world, and do not give up!

V8-9 ‘Then he cried, “A lion, my Lord! I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime; I have sat at my post every night. And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!” Then he answered and said, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground.”’ Day and night we must cry out to God, do not see Babylon bigger than God. It’s easy for us to focus on our problems and challenges and forget that God will provide, He is the God, who can turn defeat into victory. God wants us to be still and observe His Work at hand.

Section Two V11-12 To Know the Danger

V11 ‘The burden against Dumah. He calls to me out of Seir, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?”’ Dumah are the people of Edom, who are the decedents of Esau, but they looked up to Babylon and disrespect God. Psalm 137:7 says, ‘Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, “Raze it, raze it, to its very foundation!”’ Edom did not grieve for Jerusalem but spoke against it. They came from the chosen one of God, but they did not support the people of God, instead, they sided with the world.

V12 ‘The watchman said, “The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; return! Come back!”’ We must keep watch and be alert, because the darkness will come if we continue to follow the way of the world. Do not think the peace will last, because only in eternality we can have true peace.

Section Three V13-17 Do Not Rely on Wealth

V13 ‘The burden against Arabia. In the forest in Arabia you will lodge, o you traveling companies of Dedanites.’ The people of Arabia are businesspeople, they relied on their wealth, but money cannot buy everything. Through Isaiah, God said to the people that even Arabia would fail, no matter how glamorous and rich they are!

V16-17 ‘For thus the Lord has said to me: “Within a year, according to the year of a hired man, all the glory of Kedar will fail; and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the Lord God of Israel has spoken it.”’ All the riches may disappear within one year, nothing in this world is for sure, and nothing is certain, but if we focus on God, wait upon Him, then He will provide for us until the end!

以赛亚书 21 – 在困难的日子要如何活下去        

2022年5月10日 星期二

潘锡安牧师 

第21章经文所讲的事当时是还没有发生的,我们需要在灵里去理解。犹大百姓在巴比伦国的压制下过着为奴为仆的生活,于是神让先知以赛亚传讲一件很重要的话。我们在受压制的时候,不要有“听天由命”的心态,而是要观看、要警醒。面对生活的不顺,神不要我们放弃或认命,不要用“没办法了”为借口。

一、v.1-10 要观看 要警醒

在巴比伦的压制下,犹大人似乎失去盼望,我们如今的生活也很类似:物价油价高涨、通货膨胀、疫情持续猖狂… 各国政府和人民都觉得没有办法清除病毒,只能与之共存。我们是否认识到神是医治的神?当年以色列人要离开埃及前,埃及遍地流行瘟疫,唯有以色列人得到独行其事的神的保护。如今的我们没有信心能力去斥责这些病毒,因为时间久了,我们累了,就想放弃。时间一长,我们就习惯了现有的生活;身体累了,就不想举手祷告。

V1-5 “海旁”是以色列、犹大人在海边能够打鱼过活、苟且偷安的地方,“旷野”是人躲避巴比伦攻击的沙漠之地。我们现代的人是否也有这样想要躲到另一个自以为安全的地方的想法?遇到有问题,我们就尝试躲起来,甚至躲到自己的山洞。 巴比伦曾经不可一世,但神会借着波斯、玛代这样遥远的、令人想不到的国度来摧毁他们。那场面之浩大,令先知都慌张(v.3-4). “叹息”的时候就是我们在用尽一切力气都不成功之后叹气。面对仇敌灭亡,百姓本该高兴,但先知惊慌,因为这毁灭是无比残酷的。

V6 神要我们在为奴为仆的日子不要放弃,反要警醒、祷告、分别为圣,不要被这个为奴为仆的世界沾染,不要随波逐流。

V8 我们不要白天晚上只顾着做自己的工,而要警醒祷告,求神出手。不要看强大的巴比伦大过神,不要看冠状病毒或我们所面对的困境大过神。我们是否放弃、生气、害怕?如果会,那时因为我们不相信神会出手、不相信神会为我们负责到底,于是不愿安静。神每天用他的话语带领我们在高处来观望世界和我们的问题,我们所看到的,在神没有难成的事。我们所害怕的都会过去,我们是否等不下去就自己想做些事情才心安?我们要安静,愿意相信神、等待神出手。

二、v.11-12 要知道危险

V11a “度玛”就是以东,他们原本是以扫的后裔,但他们没有回转倚靠神,整天靠着巴比伦撑腰。诗篇137:7说,“耶路撒冷遭难的日子,以东人说:‘拆毁!拆毁!直拆到根基!’…”当巴比伦攻陷耶路撒冷时,以东人就在旁边煽风点火、幸灾乐祸。这是不是我们?当我们看到周围的弟兄姐妹遭殃,我们是否难过,还是像以东人那样开心、落井下石、批评论断?这是耶和华十分厌恶的行为,本来是属神的人,看到弟兄跌倒了,不去帮忙,反倒去倚靠巴比伦。我们是否害怕周围那些不属神的人不喜欢我们,于是想尽方法要去附和、讨好他们?

V11b-12 以东人自己踩别人一脚,但当他们遭难的时候,就想问守望的人情况如何。然而,“早晨将到,黑夜也来”,巴比伦过去了,人所倚靠的其他人事物都会这样过去,周而复始,不断“回头再来”,不要以为这世上有永远安全的地方。

三、v.13-17 不要倚靠财富

V13 阿拉伯人当时是最会经商的人。然而,我们不要以为财富可以帮助我们躲避问题。神借以赛亚说,阿拉伯也会遇到战争。

V16 不管这些人做生意赚多少,神可以让他们“一年之内……归于无有”。

在这个基督徒都失去盼望的时代,你愿意警醒吗?在看不到的时候,你愿意相信神的仆人所说的话?让我们安静等候神,单单倚靠他!

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