We all have experienced things in our lives that are painful beyond our ability to handle them and we wish the pain we are experiencing would just go away. Night in the Bible can be a time of judgement or great difficulty. Sometimes we walk through the night because of our sin and sometimes we walk through the night because of someone else’s sin and sometimes we walk through the night for no known reason. The people in Isaiah 21 will ask the watchman how much longer they have to endure the night and there will be times in our lives when we will face darkness that seems to never end. We will see some of what we can learn from the prophet Isaiah but also how we should act when we are going through the night and when others are going through the night.
Isaiah 21:11-17 The oracle concerning Dumah. One is calling to me from Seir, “Watchman, what time of the night? Watchman, what time of the night?” 12 The watchman says: “Morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; come back again.” 13 The oracle concerning Arabia. In the thickets in Arabia you will lodge, O caravans of Dedanites. 14 To the thirsty bring water; meet the fugitive with bread, O inhabitants of the land of Tema. 15 For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the press of battle. 16 For thus the Lord said to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 17 And the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.”
1) We all face our own Night
“What is left of the Night? What is left of the Night?” The people are asking, when will this nightmare be over? The repetition of them asking shows that there is intensity to the situation and an uncertainty if they are going to see the daylight. This is possibly about the Assyrian invasion of another town or the oppression or lack of freedom because of foreign occupation or They may have been trapped in their city. We all have had moments of darkness either because of God’s judgment or just because we are walking through difficulty because of the fallen world we live in. We all suffer because of our own sin or the sins of others and with that sometimes lead to not only long nights but long lives. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world and 1 Peter 4:12-13 says we should not be surprised by trials but it seems like we are always baffled when hardships come our way. Sometimes we do not know why we face the nights we face but we know that God uses them for His glory.
John 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus corrected faulty theology which taught that the man was born blind because of the sin in his parents’ life or that he sinned in the womb. This man faced a lifetime of darkness for no reason other than God was going to use it to display His glory when Jesus healed him of blindness. Are you willing to face the Night if God gets the glory through your life? That is a very difficult question but many people think the reason you go through your own night is because you sinned against God but that is not always the case. Do we really believe God punishes us whenever we sin? If He did none of us would be here and on top of that Jesus covered all those sins when He died. Yes, there are consequences for sin like Broken marriages, Broken Churches, addictions, loss of job etc. but we must be careful to think that when someone is going through a dark time that it is their fault or someone else’s fault.
2) Night will come and go
“Morning shall come but also the night” A watchman would be able to tell when the sun would come up and Morning is a time of relief and the watchman was able to tell them that yes their suffering would one day end.
Psalm 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
The Watchman lets them know that there will be relief but there will be darkness again and as long as we live in this fallen world we will have light and darkness to contend with.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[b] of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
The Apostle Paul was facing so much that He thought it was going to kill him but it taught him to not rely on himself but on God.
3) It is acceptable to question God about the Night
“If you will enquire, enquire” They were told to keep coming back and ask about the situation. God wants us to ask questions because by asking questions we grow deeper into a relationship with our creator.
James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
There are things that even if God answered us that we would not understand but make no mistake that He wants us to approach Him and talk to Him but also trust Him. Just like a child to a parent the questioning is not the problem it is the attitude and the slight accusations that come through our questions that are wrong. Psalms and the book of Habakkuk are full of questions but they are done in a way that is a cry as a child to a father in trying to understand the pain they are walking through. In your questions do not accuse God or question His character but genuinely seek to know the deeper things of life is alright to do especially while going through the night. To ask questions about the night is not a bad thing and the watchman even encouraged them to do so but there was a stipulation and that was to Come back
4) Our lives are changed because of the Night
“Come Back” Come back in the Old Testament was the usual word for repentance and acknowledging God. Come back is the general call of repentance that God extends to all humanity for salvation.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 22:17 calls for Christ to come but also for sinners to come. They people would not heed the advice of the watchman and they would eventually be overrun. When facing the night we have to go to God because it is only through Him that we can find the comfort that we need. (Luke 14:26) When we go to God in the midst of the night we also are changed for the better.
Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
There is an old says that says when Train goes through a long dark tunnel, you do not jump off you trust the conductor. We need to trust God in the dark times of our lives.
5) We must help those who are going through the Night
“Among the Thickets , you will lodge” The people were displaced, disheveled and desperate as they ran from war and thickets, which were low bushes which would not give them any relief from the desert sun. This was not just a bad situation this was a deadly situation.
Bring Water and Bring Bread The people needed assistance and they were urged to do so. Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort and step into someone’s night and offer them some relief even though it will not take all the pain away.
Matthew 25:34-40 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’
“Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one, and Romans 12:15 says we should weep with those who weep because we should always help others in the midst of the dark nights.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
6) The Night Will End
“For Yahweh has spoken” This will be done by God and the night will end because the rich and the powerful who were causing all these problems will one day be no more. One day God is going to judge the world and for all those who made others walk through the night because of their actions God will hold them accountable. The Bible tells us that things will get worse before they get better but we know they will get better. We look forward to the day of no more death, pain and tears and our hope is in the one who not only died but also rose again.
John 14:1-3 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
One day you can be assured because God said it will happen, He will remove the pain and the sorrow and give us a new kingdom.