[forthright] The Lord's Coming

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 06:43:02 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HANDS-ON FAITH

The Lord's Coming
 by Barry Newton

What do you make of a cartoon where a dragon is playing
chess against the president of a country with the
dragon saying, "You make the first move"?

Most of the time we will discover some interpretation
for everything around us. But, just how accurate is our
understanding?

Our interpretations tend to be based upon our
experiences and knowledge. However, what if we lack
sufficient resources to accurately understand? What
happens then? We will still arrive at a conclusion, but
it may have little to do with what someone intended to
communicate.

As Isaiah wrote to Judah in the 8th century B.C., he
communicated God’s message in their language and with
images they would understand. Judah knew that other
nations around her claimed Baal was the "Rider of the
Clouds." 

Baal was believed to be a storm god riding in
his cloud chariot capable of unleashing lightning as he
rushed into war as a divine warrior.

Isaiah 19:1 tells a different story. It is Yahweh who
comes in judgment riding on a swift cloud against
nations. In fact, he was coming against Egypt thereby
causing her idols to tremble before him. Rightly so, do
they tremble!

When the LORD comes in a cloud, he comes to judge. His
sovereignty over all nations is expressed through the
language of commanding even the cosmos, whether that be
snuffing out celestial lights (Isaiah 13:9-10; Amos
5:18,20) or wrecking terrestrial devastation such as
drying up all the water (Isaiah 15:6; 42:15; 44:27).

With this language, Isaiah foretold Egypt would be
crushed under God's judgment. Egypt's source of
strength would be dried up (Isaiah 19:5-6) and her
economy ruined (Isaiah 19:7-10).

The phrase, "There is nothing Egypt can do" (Isaiah
19:15) sums up God's absolute power over Egypt. This is
not even a contest. The Creator God is mighty, not
Egypt. Accordingly, Judah should not look to Egypt as
the source of their help for assistance against Assyria
(Isaiah 20:5-6).

Would Judah listen and respond appropriately? What
about us? Do we and our children listen and respond to
the Sovereign LORD, when we hear scripture telling us
that our lives need to be built upon God? There is yet
a day in which the Lord will come. The good news is
that we can be ready.

By the way, regarding the cartoon about the dragon and
the president, if you have lived in Brazil or been a
business major you may have recognized this as
personifying inflation's challenge to a nation's
president. Understanding the background helps.

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