THOSE INCENSED AGAINST THEE
PART 5 “Behold, all those that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded:” (Isaiah 41:11 KJV)
It is no secret that many of the nations that surround tiny Israel are incensed against her. The LORD GOD encourages Israel to “fear not” for they will be confounded in their hatred towards the Jewish nation. Verse 11 goes on to say, “They shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.” In previous messages concerning Isaiah 41 we have pointed out that Israel is a nation that was uniquely created by the LORD GOD to fulfill a specific purpose. This nation did not form naturally as have all other nations but was spoken into existence through the oath and promise of the LORD GOD. God selected a man, Abram, and covenanted with him, to the formation of a nation – a nation that would be separated from all other nations – a nation that would reveal the One True GOD – a nation that would be a light unto the Gentiles – a nation that would bring forth the Messiah. Without repeated much of what has been discussed previously, this people Israel are now brought back from the far reaching corners of the globe and re-established in the land of promise. We were told this would happen in the “last days” and here we are. The world may now not like it – but Israel is back home to stay. The world community back in the mid-forties voted in favour of creating two states within the middle east – one for the Arabs, called Trans-Jordan, and one for the Jews call Israel. The world community agreed to this. In fact, one of the first if not the first nation to recognize the legitimacy of the new nation Israel was the Soviet Union! The land at that time was totally desolate – there were no cities, no farms, no orchards, no water – just barren uncultivated vast stretches of abandoned land. Israel is now the jewel of the middle east with thriving cities and communities, orchards, vineyards, fresh water derived from vast desalination plants to water fields as well as provide drinking water for themselves and their neighbours. Their advancements in technology and medicine is second to none on the world scene. It is, in fact, the only active democracy in the entire region. And, their recognition of the equality of women within their society puts neighbouring nations to shame. “Behold, all those that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded:”
Who are these that are incensed against Israel? And why are they incensed? The Bible has much to say regarding these nations – especially concerning their ultimate destiny during the “last days.” These destinies will be of their own doing – founded in their refusal to adjust their thinking to bring it in line with the mind and will of God.
Psalm 83 lists ten of these nations or people groups that are incensed against Israel. It is important to realize that when the Bible identifies nations it uses the nations original names. New nations are constantly being formed out of older nations, and many undergo name changes. So, when GOD refers to a nation in the last days, He uses its original designation. Let me quote a portion of Psalm 83 here.
“Keep thou not silent, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult; and they that hate thee have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel be no more in remembrance.’ For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.” (KJV 1-5)
First of all, let us compare the first verse here with that of our main passage from Isaiah 41.
The opening of verse one of Isaiah 41 states, “Keep silent before me . . .” while here verse one of Psalm 83 begins, “Keep thou not silent, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.” While the nations are instructed to keep silent before God, here the Psalmist calls upon God to speak and not be still on Israel’s behalf. This Psalm concerns the ‘last days.’ How can I say that? It is because Israel is again a nation – one nation and not two – and is surrounded by the nations that will be identified as the nations that surround Israel today! In no other point in history was this true. Below is a map by Bill Salus.1
For a view of this map go to Bill Salus maps on Google. There are copyright restrictions.
I will refer to this ten-nation-confederacy in a moment but first let’s consider the opening few verses of Psalm 83 and highlight some of these.
“Thine enemies make a tumult.” Notice this confederacy is identified as an enemy of God, first and foremost. The verse continues, “and they that hate thee have lifted their head.” It is the GOD of Israel that they hate! And they are about to vent their hatred of GOD upon the ‘people of God.’
Notice as well, in verses three and five that this grouping of nations have formed a confederacy or a league against the nation of Israel and are unified in their main objective as given in verse 4 as: “Let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel be no more in remembrance.”
It is in answer to this that GOD says in Isaiah 41, “Fear not for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” This confederacy will invade the tiny nation of Israel but God will intervene. He says further in Isaiah 41 that those that are incensed against Israel will be ashamed and confounded, and shall be as nothing and shall perish. (verse 11)
Furthermore, the following verse adds, “You [Israel] will seek them [these invaders] but will not find them . . .they shall be as nothing and as a thing of nought.”
Isaiah 17:12: “Wow 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 many waters.” And Luke 21:25 tells us in the last days there will be distress among nations, with perplexity, the “sea and the waves roaring.”
And then from verses 5-8 of Psalm 83 we are given a list of the nations making up this confederacy coming against Israel. These are identified on the map given earlier. The tabernacles, (tents), of Edom (the Palestinian refugee camps), Ishmaelites (Saudi Arabia); Moab, Central Jordan; Hagrites, Egypt; Gebal, Northern Lebanon; Ammon, Northern Jordan; Amalek, The Negev and Sinai Peninsula area; Philistia, The Gaza Strip and Hamas; Tyre, Southern Lebanon and Hezbollah; Assyria, Syria and Northern Iraq.
The following verses of Psalm 83 outline the cry of the Psalmist to bring this confederacy to nought and he uses past Scriptural examples to call down similar judgments upon them. And, the desired result is given in the final verse. The LORD GOD is determined that His name will be sanctified in the eyes of the Gentiles. The verse reads: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”
So, what is the ultimate destiny of these nations that conspire against GOD and wish to cut Israel off from being a nation? For these answers we must look elsewhere within the Bible.
First, the good news. As you may be aware, Egypt was the first of the Arab nations in this current generation to seek peace with Israel and signed a treaty which also recognized Israel’s right to exist. This fact upset most of their Arab brothers and led to assassinations. What does GOD’s word have to say regarding the future of Egypt?
Isaiah 19:18-25: “In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun. In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the LORD at its boarder. It will be a sign and a witness that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is worshipped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the LORD for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a saviour who will rescue them. The LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the LORD and give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the LORD and keep it. The LORD will strike Egypt then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them. In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and the Assyrian will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. And Israel will be their ally. The three will be together, and Israel will be a blessing to them. For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will say, ‘Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession.’”
What wonderful good news; what wonderful futures; what wonderful blessings from the mouth of the LORD!
For most of the others the news is not so good. There are literally dozens of references to the ultimate fate of those nations that have chosen to “curse Israel.” Remember the sobering words of the LORD given in Genesis 12 as GOD was promising Abram a nation from his loins.
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
It is GOD’s desire to bless people and nations. However, the choice taken by many people, who hold places of authority in nations, to curse, belittle and rage against GOD’s people and against GOD’s land Israel sets them up for judgment. Perhaps the strongest condemnation spoken by the LORD concerning this collection of ‘enemies of GOD,’ is spoken against Amalek, (current day Negev and Sinai Peninsula areas) and of course Edom, current day Southern Jordan and the so-called Palestinian refugee camp areas. These “tents of Edom” head up the listing in Psalm 83 of the enemies of GOD. Today they occupy the so-called West Bank and Gaza. By the way, there is no West Bank. In the original agreement entered into by the world body, the UN, back in 1948, this land of Palestine was divided into two new nations called Israel and Trans-Jordon. The ‘trans’ meaning across the Jordan river, or to the east of the Jordan River. Our society has been inundated with the miss-information that this West Bank is part of Jordan, and the prefix ‘trans’ has been dropped for obvious reasons. It never was, and never will be. Representatives from every nation agreed in 1948 that the Jordan River was the dividing line – the Eastern boarder of Israel. However, history apart, and unfortunately forgotten, let us see what the “opinion” of the LORD might be.
Since the exodus of the Jewish people from the land of Egypt, these two people groups, Amalekites and the Edomites have warred against GOD’s fledging nation.
The Amalekites snapped at the heels of the Israeli column as they journeyed towards the promised land. They were the first nation to war against Israel. (Numbers 24:20) Their hatred towards the GOD of Israel and His people is recorded throughout the history of the Bible. They are therefore reserved for destruction by the LORD.
The other nation mentioned is Edom. The greatest severity of judgment is directed towards Edom and the Edomites. Ezekiel puts it this way.
“Moreover, the word of the LORD came unto me saying, ‘Son of man, set thy face against Seir [Edom], and prophecy against it, and say unto it, Thus says the LORD GOD; Behold O mount Seir, I am against you, and I will stretch out my hand against you, and I will make you most desolate. I will lay your cities waste, and you will be desolate, and you will know that I am the LORD. Because you have had a perpetual hatred [olam ebah – everlasting blood enmity] and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end. Therefore as I live says the Lord GOD I will prepare you unto blood, and blood will pursue you, if you have not hated blood, even blood will pursue you. Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate and cut off from it him that passes out and him that returns. And I will fill his mountain with his slain men. In your hills, in your valleys, and in all your rivers, will they fall that are slain with the sword. I will make you perpetual desolations, and your cities will not return, and you will know that I am the LORD. Because you have said, ‘These two nations and these two countries [Judah and Israel] will be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:’ therefore, as I live, says the Lord GOD I will even do according to your anger, and according to your envy which you have used out of your hatred against them; and I will make myself known among them, when I have judged you. And you will know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all your blasphemies which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, ‘They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.’ Thus with your mouth you have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them. Thus says the Lord GOD; when the whole earth rejoices, [in the coming Millennium] I will make you desolate. As you did rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto you: you will be desolate O mount Seir, and all Idumea , even all of it: and they will know that I am the LORD.
I felt it necessary to quote the entire section so we could get a full appreciation of the fury of the LORD. For over 4000 years Edom has hated Israel. It dates back to Esau selling his inheritance to Jacob for a bowl of porridge! And ever since, Edom has been attempting to usurp the covenant agreement made by God to Abraham, then to Isaac and then to Jacob. The Edomites have lusted after the land of promise and gone to bloody extremes to gain it, and this blood-lust continues today. Did you notice the number of times God promised that the cities and towns of Edom would be desolated? God says what He means and means what He says! Because of Edom’s perpetual hatred, their cities will lie in perpetual ruin.
What is spoken over Edom, the “Tents of Edom,” in Psalm 83 applies to many of the others confederated against Israel. But where there must be judgment and justice there is also grace. Nations may fall under the judgment of a Righteous GOD but individuals, regardless of their nationality, can always access the grace of the Most High God. Not all peoples of these nations will perish as their nations crumble to nothing. Where sin abounds grace abounds much more!
Returning to Isaiah 41, “Behold, all those that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded:” (Isaiah 41:11 KJV)
God is in the business of delivering individuals and nations from sin. He has but one way that this is accomplished – through the cross of Christ. He has appointed a Deliverer, a Redeemer Who stepped into the gap between the Holiness of GOD and the sinfulness of mankind. And though mankind sheds each other’s blood in rage and anger and envy and pride, Jesus Messiah shed His own blood to redeem us all. His blood covers a multitude of sin and whosoever will, can come and abide under the shadow of the wings of GOD. Let the world rile against the GOD of the Bible – the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; let them rile against GOD’s appointed sacrifice for sin; let them rage against His chosen people whom GOD appointed and formed for His good purpose. Let the nations roar as the sea, our GOD reigns! Let those who will, shake clenched fists in the face of the One who loves them so, as He reaches out to them His opened scared hands in a constant offer to bring anyone who is willing into His peace and forgiveness. Come, while the offer remains. “Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10) We live in critical and exciting times. The return of the LORD is imminent. Let us each put aside our envy, our pride, our jealousy, even our anger. Let us determine to trust in His Word, and to seek and strive to live holy lives. We have been counted among the beloved, Let us endeavour to love the LORD with our whole minds and heart and soul, as the seriousness of our time over shadows the world. May the wings of the Most High God overshadow each of us, and remember dear friends, fear not for I am with you. Amen
1 Bill Salus, Isralestine page 246, and www.Isralestine.net
LET US PRAY.
Father God we set our eyes and hope upon You. We read in your word of such things coming upon the world and we are tempted to fear these events or, more likely, simply ignore them and go about our daily routines. “And you will hear of wars and rumours of war: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6. We thank you Father that you have written history in advance and you know how all things have been determined to accomplish your good will. You have established a plan to bring salvation and redemption to this world, and it is a good plan, a perfect plan, to bring in the fullest of harvests. We pray for those who have yet to hear and understand your good news of salvation. We ask that ears be unblocked and eyes be opened to hear and see the goodness that is You. Let us be diligent in our ministries, that the reaching of souls becomes our priority. As well, let us double our efforts to help each other and those within our communities that are struggling during this time of uncertainty. We lift up Carolyn and her granddaughter at this time, that healing may fall upon and over each of them this week. We remember Ellie as she continues to deal with health issues as well. We thank you for our weekly Bible Study each Thursday morning through Google search, and we encourage others to join us over their phones. Bless our leadership with decisions that need to be made for Your honour and glory. We pray for all the young mothers among us as they minister to their young families. We ask for strength to allow them to deal with all the added issues of their lives. Grant them patience and grace to be the women of God you designed them to be. Open doors of employment for our young men that their confidence and self-worth may increase. Sanctify our family units and bring each into deeper appreciation of each other. May peace be their inheritance. Remind us to pray constantly for each other for comfort and for a release from loneliness especially for our brothers and sisters who are isolated and alone. Remind us to call. We rejoice in Your presence and in the confidence of your word when You say, “Fear not; For I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10) Be encouraged, and live in peace. Amen.