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Summary: Isaiah warns Dumah of the pending judgment. He speaks in a mysterious oracle. What does it mean as we wait for Jesus to come?

12.11.19 Isaiah 21:11-12

11 An oracle concerning Dumah:

Someone calls to me from Seir,

“Watchman, what is left of the night?

Watchman, what is left of the night?”

12 The watchman replies,

“Morning is coming, but also the night.

If you would ask, then ask;

and come back yet again.”

An oracle - it comes from the Hebrew word ??????? (Muss-ah) - which means a burden or a revelation from God. Often the two go hand in hand. When God revealed something to his prophets, it usually wasn’t good news. The oracle put a burden on the prophet, because he had to relay the bad news, and sometimes that put him in danger. Often times the oracles were mysterious and they needed to be interpreted. Last Sunday we learned about the vision that Nebuchadnezzar had about a tree being chopped down. He needed Daniel to interpret the oracle from God, that Nebuchadnezzar was going to be dethroned for a time. This is how God has chosen to communicate with people from time to time.

Jesus did the same thing with his parables. In Mark 4 Jesus said, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding;

The book of Revelation seems to have that mysterious vibe to it as well. It needs to be interpreted. It reminds me of watching the movie The Hobbit. In one particular scene Master Baggins and the dwarves made it to a side of a hill with a secret entrance, but nobody could figure out how to interpret the riddle at first. Finally they figured it out just in the nick of time, and they were able to enter.

So in today’s text God offers an oracle type of riddle to the people of Edom. Only one person can really interpret it for them - Isaiah. He is the watcher. The watcher stands at the top of the hill. He can see for miles and miles. He is put there to watch out for any impending danger and let the people know. Today we come to listen to this oracle in our Advent service in preparation for Judgment Day.

An oracle concerning Dumah:

What is Dumah? Where is Dumah? Well, it seems to be a simple juxtaposition of three letters that spell Edom in the Hebrew. So instead of E-dom, it is changed to Du-mah. Edom was the name of the region just south of Israel which was inhabited by Esau’s descendants. Edom was another name for Esau. Esau and his whole family voluntarily moved south after Jacob came back to the Promised Land. Edom was a more barren area. It wasn’t the choice land of Israel. Whereas Esau accepted his lot in life and made amends with Jacob, his descendants didn’t seem to be too happy with it. They were jealous of Israel and would sometimes attack. So Isaiah referred to Edom as Dumah. Dumah means a silent and dark type of death, and that was symbolic of what Edom was going through and where Edom was headed, into a dark and silent death.

Things were turning dark on the world scene in the Middle East. If I have my history correct, the Persians were starting to take over the region. A king by the name of Tiglath Pileser had already conquered the area of Babylon, and he was marching to the west. Israel was about to fall, and so was Edom. They were dark times. The Northern Kingdom of Israel ended up being conquered and taken captive in 722 B.C., and this section of Isaiah seems to have been written as the Assyrian threat was looming large. Darkness was coming on the land.

Someone calls to me from Seir,

“Watchman, what is left of the night?

Watchman, what is left of the night?”

Seir seems to have been a region of Edom. They were worried. Twice they ask Isaiah, “Watchman, what is left of the night?”

We’ve never seen such a threat like this in America. In Europe, back in Luther’s time, the Muslims were invading from the east. It was a real threat to their lives and Europe almost fell. In World War II, the Germans had threatened to take over Europe and were very close to doing so. We haven’t had to face anything like that here in America since the Revolution took place in the last 1700’s.

We have a different threat here in America, a threat of darkness from within. We are losing our faith. Christianity is on the decline and the sun is setting. I’ll never forget when the White House put the rainbow colors on front of it. It marked in me an obvious sign that America has turned a corner. She has lost even the vestiges of faith and gone on to promote and celebrate open immorality. Things have turned very dark.

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