The LORD Will Be Gracious
29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.
31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them.
33 For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.
Woe to Those Who Go Down to Egypt
1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!
2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
3 The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together.
4 For thus the LORD said to me, "As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the LORD of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
5 Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it."
6 Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted, O children of Israel.
7 For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.
8 "And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
9 His rock shall pass away in terror, and his officers desert the standard in panic," declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
Journal: The end of chapter 30 specifically references the Assyrians [the menace of the region], but the judgment in mind goes much deeper and wider. It is the judgment of sin and it is the judgment of sinners. It is Hell itself that is being foretold. ["For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it."] So, how does music [songs, and the sounds of tambourines and lyres] fit into this picture? It seems so out of place to have rejoicing in the midst of destruction. I suppose that it won't be out of place at all. After all, what better picture will the redeemed have of their own salvation than to see a picture of what it would have meant to have no salvation at all. God's grace will be evident in abundance in the midst of His judgment. The rejoicing will be both bold and humble, as graphically displayed by a savior on a cross. Additionally, the judgment of sin is for God's own glory and the protection of that glory; therefore, what response can there be but the response of utter joy when God's glory is furthered in His perfect way.
Chapter 31 is yet another reminder that our salvation comes from the Lord, the giver of all things. There is no salvation in the strength of man. ["Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!"] It is through consultation with the "Holy One of Israel" that life is revealed as purposeful. It is far too often that I have rushed into decisions without proper consultation and without proper humility. This is merely reaching out my hand horizontally for assistance, when my strength comes from the hand, His hand, that is reaching down from eternity past. ["The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together."] His hand rights the wobbly legs of the dependent and humble, or cuts off the flexing legs of the independent and prideful. ["Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted, O children of Israel."] Turn to Him, and Him alone.
Heard 'Round the House:
The wonderful voice of Ella [age 3] is being heard around here more and more. This is a good thing, even though her favorite thing to say is "stop it!" We adopted Ella a little over year ago. She was so despondent that we thought she might be autistic in addition to having down syndrome. At first, she pretty much would only sit and rock and stare. When we got her home, she progressed from despondency to crawling to walking. She now is just part of the gang around here [keeps up nicely with the "big kids" I might add], and is beginning to piece together words and phrases if you listen hard enough. As with all of our adopted kids, she has traded favorite daddy for favorite mommy. All of our adopted kids start out liking me the best and then come to their senses and it's mommy, mommy, mommy. However, I sure am glad they have a mommy now . . .
Note: Here is the latest update from Alan on Tiffany Grace --
UPDATE on 02/25/08
Tiffany had a much better day today. She was more alert and was moving around more. She had another echocardiogram today which revealed a slight improvement in heart function from Friday. Her breathing was about the same but they did reduce some of her vent settings and reduced the medicine going into the lungs to help her lungs and heart. The x-ray they took illustrated that her lungs are more fully expanded which is good. They took a spinal fluid sample to make sure that she has no infection - initial results are negative but won't know for sure until tomorrow. They decided to give her a PIK catheter so that they could remove the umbilical line (don't like to leave those in for more than 8-10 days). Her heart rate came down a little to the 165-175 bpm range. A pretty eventful day for Tiffany. Hopefully they will give her a day off from all the procedures tomorrow. Her skin looked better today also as she had more color than before. So, as you can tell, we made some incremental progress today which is all good news. She will continue to be on ventilator with a nice shot of oxygen (30-40%) to help her heart stay as stress free as possible. Hopefully, her heart will continue to improve and her lungs will continue to get stronger so we can get her off the ventilator soon.Please continue to pray for heart to become stronger and repair any previous damage that had occurred and for her lungs to strengthen and process properly. Also for her medical team which is doing a fantastic job! Thanks so much for your diligence in prayer and encouragement.