Isaiah 18:1

"Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush," NIV translation

Isaiah begins by addressing this prophecy to the land that is known today as Ethiopia. This had been the southern part of the kingdom of Egypt but they were split apart. Even today, the country is known for its birds.

Isaiah 18:2

"which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water. Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers." NIV translation

Although the land of Egypt is considered to be a very poor nation today, at this time, they were considered a great nation. The Assyrian army had invaded the land of Judah because Hezekiah had rebelled against their idolatry. They invaded the villages of Judah. Since the Assyrians were also an enemy of Cush, they went to Jerusalem to offer an alliance in the fight against the Assyrians. They were sent back without an alliance because of the promise that we are about to see.

Isaiah 18:3

"All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it." NIV translation

A banner speaks of a symbol that lets people know who is at a given location. In this case, the banner refers to the very presence of God acting on behalf of His people. We see that the entire world was going to know that Jerusalem was spared by the very hand of God.

Isaiah 18:4

"This is what the Lord says to me: 'I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.'" NIV translation

We see that God told Isaiah that He would be watching but would not act immediately. As Christians, we can see this in our daily lives as well. Often, God allows us to enjoy our lives as He watches over and protects us without us even knowing it.

Isaiah 18:5 & 6

"For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches. They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals, the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter." NIV translation

Now, we see that God has given His timing for the intervention on behalf of His people. The timing is compared to the harvest of grapes and we see that God will step in just before the time for harvest. We see that the Assyrians will be at the height of their power when God steps in and judges them. This is the same type of thing that happens in Revelation during the last days.

Isaiah 18:7

"At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty from a people tall and smooth skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers - the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty." NIV translation

In 2 Chronicles 32:23, we are told that people brought gifts to Hezekiah after the defeat of the Assyrians. In this, we see that God's timing was perfect to accomplish His purpose of drawing men to Him. The same thing will happen throughout the time of the great tribulation described in Revelation. God will allow the devil to build his kingdom on the earth only to see it quickly destroyed by the very hand of God. This, too, is God calling people to Himself through a demonstration of His power.

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