Read Isaiah 13-16.
Some passages of Scripture are delightful. This is not one of them. While a glorious future for Judah has been prophesied in earlier chapters, these chapters begin the oracles against the nations starting with Babylon, Assyria, Philistia and Moab. In vivid detail their undoing is portrayed and we hear how the house of Jacob taunts the king of Babylon. I get uneasy; seems to me to be pretty rough words and a rather foreboding depiction of righteous judgment from heaven. Preferring the delights of God’s grace and loving-kindness, a disciplined reading of God’s Word takes me into chapters I may otherwise opt out of. “Let’s not go there.” But here we are, and the following chapters aren’t going to get any nicer, either.
An Advent prayer: Who can stand before you? May our evil presume your favor? An exacting judgment will be our undoing; unless You have compassion on Jacob and choose Israel. We cry, “Come in mercy, O Lord, and save us.”
– Doug MacLeod