Verse 1 – The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.
This next prophecy is directed against Damascus, an ancient city and the capital of Syria. From the time of Solomon to the mid-eighth century, there was fighting between Israel and Syria. Assyria under Tiglath-pilease III absorbed Damascus into its growing empire.
Verse 2 – The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid. (The best known cities of Aroer were in Moab.)
Verse 3 – The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they will be as the glory of the children of Israel,” says the Lord of hosts.
Verse 4 – “In that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob will wane, and the fatness of his flesh grow lean.
Verse 5 – It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, and reaps the heads with his arm; it shall be as he who gathers heads of grain in the valley of Rephaim.
People who have not studied 1st and 2nd kings, and 1st and 2nd Chronicles or any of the Old Testament, are going to find these prophecies hard to understand or even why they should know about Israel’s past. However, there is a lot to be learned from how a country, a chosen people, can be so blessed by God, and then slowly slip into sin.
We can relate how our country, America, was founded on Godly principles, having the freedom to worship the One True God, and then over the centuries be so far from Him. Kick God out of our schools; making it legal to kill babies in the wombs; departing from the moral principle of one man married to one woman, and these are just a few; all have led our nation down a path of destruction. God does not bless sin!
Answer: God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
This was Israel’s problem also, they would not humble themselves under God!
Verse 6 – Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in its most fruitful branches,” says the Lord God of Israel.
Verse 7 – In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.
Verse 8 – He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; he will not respect what his fingers has made, nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.
This is a time, “In that day,” beyond this judgment, when the remnant will worship the Holy One of Israel, not the Asherim, Canaanite gods. The Asherah poles were images of Asherah the female god of Baal. The cult encouraged immoral sexual practices and attracted all kinds of debauchery.
Verse 9 – In that day his strong cities will be as a forsaken bough and uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel; and there will be desolation.
Verse 10 – Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold. Therefore you will plant pleasant plants and set out foreign seedlings;
To remember God is more than a mental activity. Remembering God implies obedience and worship.
Verse 11 – In the day you will make your plant to grow, and in the morning you will make your seed to flourish; but the harvest will be a heap of ruins in the day of grief and desperate sorrow.
All their planting; all their efforts will amount to ruin because they did not remember God. Psalm 127:1 – Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman watches in vain.
This is not talking about building a home in which to live or a city. In everything we do in life, if it does not include the Lord, we labor in vain. It won’t amount to anything.
Verse 12 – Woe to the multitude of many people who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
This agitation is the nations that rumble like rushing mighty waters. It’s the image of social and religious chaos. Sound familiar?
Verse 13 – The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; but God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
Verse 14 – Then behold, at eventide, trouble! And before the morning, he is no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.
God’s judgment comes quickly. Do you see why it is so important for us as a nation to keep Israel as our alliance?
Zechariah 12:9 – “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. The Bible makes it very clear that the nations which have determined to destroy Israel will be decimated! The War of Gog and Magog will be the first step towards making the entire earth conscious of the One and Only Supreme God. This war will also open the way for the Antichrist to rebuild Babylon and to become the dominant force in the ancient Eastern leg of the Roman Empire. Now do you see why it’s so important to study the History and the prophets of Israel?