"Send the lamb to the ruler [Hezekiah] of the land [of Judah], from Sela [in Edom], by way of the desert [east of the Dead Sea], to the mount of the daughter of Zion [Jerusalem]. Like fleeing birds, like a scattered nest, so are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon." - Isaiah 16:1-2
Around 710 bc, Assyria is again on the march, and she's got Moab in her sights. Moab is in panic and fleeing south into Edom, carrying as much belongings as she can. Her cities are being overrun by the Assyrian army. Will the Edomites provide a safe place of refuge for the fleeing Moabites? What are Moab's options? Isaiah comes along and suggests she turn back north, travel through the Judean wilderness on the other side of the Dead Sea, and seek shelter with King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Sending a lamb to the new king of Judah will be a symbol of Moab's submission to Judah and an official request for shelter. To turn back north, toward Assyria, would be a huge step of faith for the Moabites. And yet, Jerusalem, the city of the Messianic king, is the only real place of shelter.
This is such a beautiful picture of the decision we all must make concerning Jesus. When the going gets tough, when we are surrounded on all sides by the negative circumstance of life, when all seems lost, will we run away from Zion or run to Zion? Zion is Jesus' city. It's the place from which he will rule the earth. Jerusalem is the city of the great King (Matthew 5:35). God invites all of us to take shelter in Zion, under the protection of Messiah Jesus. In fact it is the only place of true, lasting, permanent shelter. Our bank accounts, investments, real estate, possessions, health regimen, friends, career, family, government, or military power cannot in the end save us. This is why it is imperative for us, like the Moabites of Isaiah's day, to "send the lamb" to the ruler in Zion, to submit ourselves to the rulership of Jesus, the one who died for us and who now lives.
Father, thank you that when I was about 23, I sent the lamb to Jesus. Thank you I live, figuratively speaking, in Zion, under the permanent protection of the Messianic king. May we continue to spread the good news that there is a ruler in Zion who offers protection, who is able provide a refuge from the storms of life. We are all refugees, Father. We all need a permanent place of refuge. May we turn to Zion to find that place, taking refuge in your Son, Messiah Jesus.
"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." - Psalm 2:12
In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman