Don’t let the reference to Ahaz’s death fool you. It appears its purpose is simply to set a date context for us. It is not talking about King Ahaz’s son when it says, “For from that snake a more poisonous snake will be born, a fiery serpent to destroy you!” Like Israel, Philistia had also been ravaged by the king of Assyria. That king also died near the time of the death of Ahaz.
This little snippet of Scripture points to a great doom yet to fall. Could it be Isaiah again is referring to the rise of Babylon? Is it Babylon who will be the “powerful army [that] comes like smoke from the north.” With the placement of this oracle in proximity to both Babylon and Assyria, I just wonder. I’m not a Bible scholar but have taken a look at a couple different commentaries. If the people thought Assyria was ruthless, the rise of the Babylonians will be worse.
What struck me about this text was the message to the Philistines, “The Lord has built Jerusalem; its walls will give refuge to his oppressed people.” The Lord has a desire to give refuge to those being oppressed. There are so many great verses in the Bible that speak of refuge. Since that is the theme I’m going with today, find “refuge” in these verses. Whatever you are going through right now, you are not alone. You can rest in the arms of God knowing that he will never leave your side.
Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
Deuteronomy 33:27: “The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’”
Psalm 31:20: “You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.”
Proverbs 18:10: “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”
Psalm 18:2: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”
Rest in God’s promises to us. We do not need to fear what is coming or unseen. During these uncertain times, we can be sure of only one thing: God’s sovereignty. Our struggles are but a speck to God, but to us they can feel like they are choking us, blinding us, keeping us captive.
Take refuge in your Creator’s love today.
Let’s pray … Lord, forgive me for my doubt and fear. Help me to clear away the muck and see the beauty of this world as you do. Use me to help restore others to a living faith in you. Cleanse my heart and make me strong, ready to face my foes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.