You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. Woe to the many nations that rage— they rage like the raging sea! Woe to the peoples who roar— they roar like the roaring of great waters! Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us. – Isaiah 17:10-14
This passage is directed at Damascus, in what is modern day Syria. It is interesting that we hear every day in the news about Syria and the refugee stream that emanates from there. In some ways the admonition that Damascus has “forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress” applies equally well today. The desperation of the Syrians is also similar, thus the exodus that is happening now.
“Woe to the many nations that rage — they rage like the raging sea”. This could be describing any number of modern day nations; Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and the United States that are trying to deal in a compassionate way with the influx of refugees. There are no easy solutions now and there were no easy solutions then. The people from Damascus were “driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale”. It sounds like they were dispersed widely and separated from the land they called home. That sounds eerily familiar.
I am struck by the first statement you have “forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress”. This speaks directly to all of us who try to faithfully follow God and invariably do so imperfectly. We are all flawed followers that sometimes forget who our savior is and where we are to anchor our lives — to the Rock, our fortress.
The take-home message for me is that no matter how hard we try to make our lives “successful” we will ultimately not succeed unless we remember the Savior and build our spiritual house on the Rock. We can “roar like surging waters” all we want, but I fear we come across to God more like the faint tinkle of a trickle.
Prayer: God thank you for being our Savior and Rock. Help us to run toward You rather than away from You.