Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela, by way of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. Like fleeing birds, like a scattered nest, so are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. “Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the eight of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive; let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them from the destroyer. When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land, then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.” We have heard of the pride of Moab—how proud he is!—of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right. Therefore let Moab wail for Moab, let everyone wail. Mourn, utterly stricken, for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth. For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have struck down its branches, which reached to Jazer and strayed to the desert; its shoots spread abroad and passed over the sea. Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for over your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased. And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting. Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth. – Isaiah 16:1-11
This passage is a rainbow after the storm and drought that Moab has been experiencing; a promise from God for a different future. The destruction that they face is coming to an end and God has promised to “send the lamb to the ruler of the land”. This may very well have been a reference to a specific event or prophecy around the time of the book of Isaiah, but it is also a pretty clear “reflection of Him“.
The Moabites were probably looking for a military rescue. They had a preconceived notion about what the help should look like when it arrived. God sends “the Lamb”, something that they did not expect. Jesus, the lamb, was also not expected. The parallel between these Moabites looking for a military solution and the Jewish leaders looking for a military leader to rescue them from the Roman oppression is striking.
God is also speaking to those who live around Moab. Directing them to provide help and aide: “be a shelter to them from the destroyer”. This part really speaks to me as a contemporary God follower. We are all to be looking for “outcasts” so that we can lead them to the one who sent the Lamb to die for them. Giving them shelter and letting them “sojourn” among us.
The passage then provides an amazing picture of the coming “lamb” and the reign His coming will bring on earth: “a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness”. All of these characteristics, prophesied here in Isaiah, would equally apply to the young man from Nazareth who would become the Lamb for all of us — a decedent of David who judges with faithfulness, justice, righteousness and love. One who came for all of us outcasts — “scraps of cloth” so that we could figure out how to make our way into God’s kingdom.
It sounds like the core problem that God is addressing in Moab is pride, “his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right”. God is attempting to help Moab with their posture and perspective — an important reminder that we need to be mindful of how we position ourselves in relation to God.
The Moabites had moved away from God. The fields and vines were languishing. There was much wailing and weeping. It seems God also mourns this loss of relationship with the Moabites: “therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears”. God does not want the Moabites to suffer this separation any more than the Moabites want the judgement that has befallen them. God also mourns for our separation from Him. The only way forward for the Moabites, and us, is to turn around and return to the one who loves us and wants to carry us like a son or daughter.
Prayer: God thank You for sending us a Lamb and rescuing all of us outcasts by sending your Son Jesus.