We have recently seen the US elect a new president through a tumultuous process, and are each day experiencing the UK government imposing tightening restrictions on the UK population with seemingly endless lockdowns. We have finally left the EU with a deal. All these dramatic events that seem so important to us at the time and on which we may have different opinions or preferences will be just a part of history in a year’s time. The point is that the prophets also lived through tumultuous days in the life of their nation, but sought to direct the thoughts of the people to God’s point of view and his priorities.
They were able to see beyond the immediate present, seeing the world from the vantage point of timelessness. In Isaiah’s day, for example, tyrants such as Sennacherib and Sargon of Assyria brought fear and dread to the Israelites. When Assyrian armies marched through Judah, the people were terrified, all except Isaiah, that is. With eyes fixed on God, he scorned the Assyrian rulers as bit players, temporary tools that God would use and toss aside. With ironic disdain, he described their fate. You can read it in Isaiah 14:3-27. The same could be written about Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot. Eventually all tyrants meet the same fate, “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble?” people will ask.
Isaiah and the other prophets urged the people to put their faith in God alone. They had more courage than ordinary people, but had an insight into God, that saw events in a different light. Who is really running the world, they asked, King Ahab or God? The Assyrian empire or God? With no weapon other than the force of the spoken word, they stood against the powers of their day. Their predictions, that sounded like wishful thinking at the time, proved true. Assyria fell, as did Babylon, and then Persia, Greece, and ultimately, even Rome. You have to dig through layers of dirt today to find any remains of the magnificent city of Babylon. The great Nebuchadnezzar is a footnote of history, unknown to almost anyone but students of the Bible. Yet the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel have been preserved and are still studied by millions around the world. And if their prophecies about the kings of their day proved true, what of their message about the end of all history?
Look to the Lord, and trust in Him with all your heart.
Pray for those in power today, that they might be receptive to the voice of God, and for those known to us: