In our study of Isaiah chapter seventeen, we will look at the alliance that was formed by Syria and Israel against Judah and the consequences of choosing the wrong friends. In our "Facebook world" it seems like people befriend people that they hardly know but we must remember that our friendships (alliances) have consequences.
"An oracle concerning Damascus: 'See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid.'" NIV translation
We see that God was going to judge the nation of Syria (whose capitol is Damascus). They were going to be judged because they made an alliance with the northern kingdom (Israel) against the southern kingdom (Judah). The "cities of Aroer" refers to the suburbs of the ancient city of Damascus. This prophecy has been fulfilled as the modern city of Damascus is not in the same location as the Damascus of Isaiah's day. It was common, at that time, to rebuild a city that had been destroyed but move it from the ruins of the old city.
"'The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites,' declares the Lord Almighty." NIV translation
This verse is like a bridge connecting the fates of Israel (Ephraim) and Syria in this matter. Both of the nations were to face the judgment for their opposition to Judah and God's city (Jerusalem). God uses the name Ephraim for the northern kingdom to remind us of their idolatry (adultery) as they had refused to obey God and worship in Jerusalem. They had set up their own places of worship and even made an alliance with Syria to attack the city of Jerusalem. They were both guilty and so both were going to be judged. This should be a strong warning to us about choosing our friends.
As we see here, the choices we make can have serious consequences. As Christians, we are called to reach out to others and show them the love of Jesus Christ but we must understand that those who reject Christ are enemies of Christ. Those who attack God's people (Christians) and oppose His will are enemies and will be judged accordingly. Those who go along with them instead of assisting God's people will be judged as well. Before you "friend" another person on Facebook or another social site, remember that you may be guilty by association in God's eyes.