In our study of Isaiah chapter sixteen, we will look at the judgment of Moab and how it applies to our world today. In chapter 15, we saw how it is not good enough to just be close to the kingdom of God. We continue by looking at what happens when God's offer of mercy is refused.
"Send lambs as tribute to the ruler of the land, from Sela, across the desert, to the mount of the Daughter of Zion." NIV translation
God opens this chapter with an offer of mercy. Sela refers to the city of Petra which is located in Jordan and is famous for being cut out of the rock and for its water system.
"Like fluttering birds pushed from the nest, so are the women of Moab at the fords of the Arnon." NIV translation
When baby birds are nudged from the nest, they flap their wings as hard and fast as they can in an attempt to fly and survive.
Here, the refugees from the wrath that was prophesied in chapter fifteen are described in the same manner.
"'Give us counsel, render a decision. Make your shadow like night - at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees. Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer.' The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land." NIV translation
Here, God calls His people to assist the Moabites as they flee from the Assyrians. We must remember that they were enemies of Israel but God tells them to demonstrate mercy just as He did for them.
This is a reminder to us, as Christians, that we are to be known as a loving merciful people. We are to shelter those that reject Jesus so that they may come to know of His grace and mercy.
"In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it - one from the house of David - one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness." NIV translation
This speaks of the temporary offer of mercy from Israel towards their enemy but also to the eternal mercy of God through Jesus Christ. We are reminded that it is God's love for us that prompted Him to send His Son to earth. It is the love that Jesus has for us that led Him to obey the Father and go to the cross on our behalf but we are reminded that it is those who accept that mercy that are considered righteous.