A prophecy against Moab: Ar in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! Kir in Moab is ruined, destroyed in a night! Dibon goes up to its temple, to its high places to weep; Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba. Every head is shaved and every beard cut off. In the streets they wear sackcloth; on the roofs and in the public squares they all wail, prostrate with weeping. Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz. Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out, and their hearts are faint. – Isaiah 15:1-4
I confess I had to have a little geography lesson to keep this passage straight. I honestly lost track of where Moab was in relation to more familiar places like Jerusalem. So after a little investigation I learned that Moab and the cities described in this passage is a very mountainous region southeast of the Dead Sea. It is bordered on the east by the Arabian Desert and on the west by the Dead Sea.
The passage is describing a devastating rout of the major cities of Moab in what could only be described as an old testament shock and awe campaign. Cities taken in a night, men’s beards and heads shaved. It is not a pretty picture. The response of the Moabites is to go “to its high places to weep”. Weeping up to this point on my float through the old testament has typically been associated with soul sickness and emotional turmoil. The Moabites are clearly experiencing strong emotions about what has happened to them and their cities.
I suspect they were asking questions like “where is our God? What did we do to deserve this punishment? They are casting about for a way forward. What should we do? Should we fight or pray? Some choose a path of humility, “they wear sackcloth; on the roofs and in the public squares they all wail, prostrate with weeping” These people either know that they have done something to displease God or they are taking this posture just to “cover their bases”.
There is another group of Moabites who respond differently. The “armed men of Moab cry out, and their hearts are faint”. So the trained military men crying out rather than weeping, perhaps these men were unwilling or unable to bear their souls through weeping, I am not sure. These men apparently feel like they have “hearts like water“. I think God would prefer that they had “hearts that live“.
So what is the take away message here? I guess for me it is the idea that when we encounter hardships we can choose to look, even weep, to the one who has offered to carry us like a son or daughter or we can choose to go it alone and wonder why God has left us.
Prayer: God no matter how much the world around us is crumbling and hard, help us to trust and know that You love us and have our backs.