ISAIAH 15
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[Yeshayah 15 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]


1 The burden [massa] of Moab [Moav]. Because in the night [ lailah] Ar of Moab [Moav] is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night [lailah] Kir of Moab [Moav] is laid waste, and brought to silence;

We discover that evil is not the exception but the rule in the lot of man. Our reading from Isaiah Ch. 15, gives us a picture of something that in one form or other is universal. It is a scene of pillage and bloodshed and ruin and tears - a whole district desolated in a single night, and the whole population out next day in bitter lamentation in the open fields.



6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay [ khatzir (grass)] is withered away, the grass faileth [ the desheh (vegetation)], there is no green thing [yerek (green) there is none].

7 Therefore the abundance [ possessions] they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows [Nakhal HaAravim (Ravine of Willows)].

8 For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab [Moav]; the howling thereof unto Eglayim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim [Be'er Elim].

9 For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood [dahm]: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions [aryeh] upon him that escapeth of [Moav], and upon the remnant of the land [she'erit adamah].

Distress and care are not always to be seen in this acute form, but in some shape or other, in all countries, in every age, in our own age, every day, evil reigns. It reigns intensely. We learn how bitter and incurable it is when capacities to rightly read the situation, open with growth and experience. At times, the fact is overwhelming. It comes upon us with a force that crushes to the earth. It wrings from the heart the bitter wail of David.

"O Lord, wherefore hast Thou made all men in vain? Where are Thy mercies and Thy lovingkindness?"

The struggling mind asks the reason. Here is a fair and beautiful earth - the fit platform for a happy and glorious life. Here is man a noble creature-or a creature fundamentally intended for nobleness-with great capacities for intelligence and joy: with great aspirations for high things. Here he is, painfully struggling with abortion in every shape and form.

It is no cant or hypochondriacal phrase that describes his lot as one of "vanity and vexation of spirit." That is the verdict of wisdom: it is the lesson of experience. Only fools challenge it, only men of a limited mind think it an exaggeration. What is the explanation, then, of this distressing situation of things - that a creature formed for goodness - desiring goodness -striving for goodness in some shape and way everywhere, should be weltering in a bottomless bog of failure and evil?

There is a reason both simple and profound, at once satisfactory to wisdom and contemptible to the carnal mind. It is a reason arising out of a fact which we see most conspicuously of all when we look at Christ, especially when we look at him on the cross. The one fact visible above all others as we look at him, is that God exists as well as man. If God exists, God must have rights as well as man. What are those rights? Here is where the natural man stumbles.

The universal idea is that the universe exists for man, and that if there is a God, it is only as man's servant that He has any function. If this is the truth, the state of man as he now is upon the earth is a problem that defies solution. But it is not the truth. It seems as if the shallowest intellect ought to see that it cannot be the truth, but that only can be the truth which the Bible teaches, that all things exist for God, that His aims, His rights, His principles, and action must prevail.

This indeed is forced upon reflection as the unquestionable truth, and as the only explanation of the evil state of things that now distresses us, for when we enquire, we find there is a history to this matter that is open to no other understanding...

The real and simple explanation, then, of the reign of evil, is that God and man are separated.

Brother Roberts - That God Shall be Sanctified