Isaiah 21

* The taking of Babylon. (1-10) Of the Edomites. (11,12) Of the

Arabs. (13-17)

1-10 Babylon was a flat country, abundantly watered. The

destruction of Babylon, so often prophesied of by Isaiah, was

typical of the destruction of the great foe of the New Testament

church, foretold in the Revelation. To the poor oppressed

captives it would be welcome news; to the proud oppressors it

would be grievous. Let this check vain mirth and sensual

pleasures, that we know not in what heaviness the mirth may end.

Here is the alarm given to Babylon, when forced by Cyrus. An ass

and a camel seem to be the symbols of the Medes and Persians.

Babylon's idols shall be so far from protecting her, that they

shall be broken down. True believers are the corn of God's

floor; hypocrites are but as chaff and straw, with which the

wheat is now mixed, but from which it shall be separated. The

corn of God's floor must expect to be threshed by afflictions

and persecutions. God's Israel of old was afflicted. Even then

God owns it is his still. In all events concerning the church,

past, present, and to come, we must look to God, who has power

to do any thing for his church, and grace to do every thing that

is for her good.
11,12 God's prophets and ministers are as watchmen in the city

in a time of peace, to see that all is safe. As watchmen in the

camp in time of war, to warn of the motions of the enemy. After

a long sleep in sin and security, it is time to rise, to awake

out of sleep. We have a great deal of work to do, a long journey

to go; it is time to be stirring. After a long dark night is

there any hope of the day dawning? What tidings of the night?

What happens to-night? We must never be secure. But many make

curious inquiries of the watchmen. They would willingly have

nice questions solved, or difficult prophecies interpreted; but

they do not seek into the state of their own souls, about the

way of salvation, and the path of duty. The watchman answers by

way of prophecy. There comes first a morning of light, and

peace, and opportunity; but afterward comes a night of trouble

and calamity. If there be a morning of youth and health, there

will come a night of sickness and old age; if a morning of

prosperity in the family, in the public, yet we must look for

changes. It is our wisdom to improve the present morning, in

preparation for the night that is coming after it. Inquire,

return, come. We are urged to do it quickly, for there is no

time to trifle. Those that return and come to God, will find

they have a great deal of work to do, and but little time to do

it in.
13-17 The Arabians lived in tents, and kept cattle. A

destroying army shall be brought upon them, and make them an

easy prey. We know not what straits we may be brought into

before we die. Those may know the want of necessary food who now

eat bread to the full. Neither the skill of archers, nor the

courage of mighty men, can protect from the judgments of God.

That is poor glory, which will thus quickly come to nothing.

Thus hath the Lord said to me; and no word of his shall fall to

the ground. We may be sure the Strength of Israel will not lie.

Happy are those only whose riches and glory are out of the reach

of invaders; all other prosperity will speedily pass away.

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