Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, and more specifically is found in the fourteenth chapter of the book. Many are familiar with this particular passage because it contains a prophetic word concerning Lucifer who incited a third of the angels in heaven in a riot and rebellion before and against the throne of God. This chapter is one of two within the Old Testament—the other being the twenty-eighth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel which speaks directly to the king of Tyre. The thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah are directly connected and tied to each other, for within the thirteenth chapter we find a prophetic utterance concerning Babylon itself, while in the fourteenth chapter we find a prophetic utterance concerning the king of Babylon. What is particularly interesting about the fourteenth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah is that it doesn’t immediately begin with a prophetic utterance concerning the king of Babylon, but concerning the nation and people of Israel. “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors” (Isaiah 14:1-2). Before the prophet Isaiah even begins speaking to and concerning the king of Babylon he first begins by speaking of the mercy of God. I am convinced there is something incredibly significant and truly wonderful about this, for one cannot speak of the demise and destruction of the adversary without first speaking of the mercy of the Lord. Consider the words of the apostle Paul in the final chapter of his epistle to the Roman congregation—“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (Romans 16:20). Here in this particular verse the apostle Paul directly links and connects both the peace of God and the God of peace with the bruising of Satan under our feet. In essence, directly linked to the bruising of Satan under our feet is the peace of God—the peace which passes all understanding. I have previously written that one cannot expect to experience the peace of God without also experiencing the government of God. There are many who desire the peace of God to be manifested within their hearts, yet they fail to understand that directly connected to the peace of God is His rule, for the apostle Paul wrote and spoke of letting the peace of God “rule in your hearts,” thus suggesting what I would consider to be “the government of peace.” This is indeed what the prophet Isaiah was referencing when he spoke “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” In all reality, if you desire the peace of God to increase within your heart you must also desire the government of God to increase within your heart. There can be no increase of peace within one’s heart without and apart from an increase to the government of God within that same heart. In fact, I would dare say that it is precisely because the government of God increases within one’s heart and life that the peace of God is then permitted and able to rule and reign. It is only when the government of heaven—the kingdom, the dominion and the authority of God—is truly manifested and permitted to increase within one’s heart and life that peace can then flow forth. When I read the prophetic utterance of Isaiah in the fourteenth chapter of the book which bears his name I can’t help but see a strong connection between the mercy of God and the demise and destruction of Satan. Consider the account when the seventy returned to Jesus rejoicing that even the demons were subject to them His name and how He first declared unto them that He beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Jesus then encouraged them not to rejoice over having authority over demons and unclean spirits, but rather that their names were written in the book of Life. In other words, directly connected to authority over demons and unclean spirits is linked to the mercy of God, for it is only the mercy of God that permits one’s name from being written and recorded in the book of life.
The prophet Isaiah begins this passage of Scripture with the words “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob,” and it is actually quite fitting when you consider it. In between the prophetic utterance concerning judgment upon Babylon and the lament over the king of Babylon is a powerful declaration concerning the mercy of God. It is this divine mercy of the Lord of hosts that causes Him to choose Israel—and not only to choose Israel, but also set them in their own land. The prophet begins and opens this passage with a declaration of mercy, for in order to understand the great conflict that exists within and upon the earth we must first understand it in light of the divine mercy of God. The Lord was indeed going to judge Babylon—that great city in the land of the Chaldees—but in addition to the judgment of Babylon was mercy upon Israel. Consider the stark contrast between these words “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation” (Isaiah 13:19-20) and these words “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land” (Isaiah 14:1). One cannot help but see a direct connection and correlation between the casting down of Babylon and the return and rising up of Jacob. I have to admit that I absolutely love the apparent connection between the judgment of Babylon and the redemption and restoration of Israel. One cannot help but think that it was the judgment of Babylon which was going to make way for the restoration of Israel, and even the very judgment of Babylon reveals this. You will recall that it was during the reign of Belshazzar when the spirit of the Medes was stirred up against Babylon, and on the night of the grand feast he hosted—not only did handwriting appear on the wall, but that very night Darius the Mede entered into Babylon, captured the city, and killed Belshazzar. It was the emergence and rise of the Medes and the Persians which would ultimately lead to the rise of a man by the name of Cyrus who according to the word of the Lord issued the decree that not only permitted the house of Israel to return to their own land, but also permitted them to rebuild the Temple of the Lord in the midst of it. One might ask the question if the judgment of God coincidentally brings with it the mercy of God, for it was the apostle who wrote that “mercy triumphs over judgment.”
As surely and certainly as the Lord was preparing to bring about the judgment of Babylon—that instrument which was once in His hand to judge Judah and Jerusalem—the Lord was also preparing to exercise mercy toward Israel. One of the most interesting realities surrounding the prophetic writings of Isaiah is that he prophesied of the return of captive Israel before Judah and Jerusalem even went into captivity. The prophet Isaiah witnessed the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel during the days of Hezekiah when Sennacherib invaded the land and took that people captive, and prophesied of the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem before it even took place. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of the coming judgment of Babylon—a judgment which would ultimately prepare the way for the mercy of God to be manifested in the earth toward His people. WHEN THE JUDGMENT OF GOD MAKES WAY FOR THE MERCY OF GOD! WHEN THE JUDGMENT OF YOUR ADVERSARY PREPARES THE WAY FOR THE MERCY OF GOD! I can’t help but see a powerful connection—not only between the judgment of Babylon and the mercy of God toward Jacob, but also between the judgment of the king of Babylon and mercy toward Jacob. The Lord would indeed deal with, confront and judge Babylon, and it was upon the completion of that judgment that His mercy would begin to be manifested in the earth toward His people. These two chapters within the prophetic book of Isaiah are actually quite remarkable and astounding, for it almost seems that with the judgment of Babylon would come mercy toward Jacob—a powerful declaration that the mercy of God triumphs over judgment. I would dare say that it is quite possible that the mercy of God manifested toward Jacob brought about the judgment of Babylon, for the Lord couldn’t truly manifest His mercy until Babylon was first dealt with, confronted and moved out the way.
Please pay close attention to this concept, for it presents something truly powerful within your life and mine. I am convinced there is a powerful prophetic declaration for the saints and people of God in this generation. The prophetic declaration which I believe is being spoken in this generation is that directly connected to the manifestation of the mercy of God within your life and mine is the judgment of God upon our adversary, our foes and our enemies. One thing that must be considered is that while the Lord did indeed preserve the house of Jacob in the lands of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and even the Medes and Persians, His mercy could not and would not be manifested until Babylon was confronted and moved out of the way. In essence, both Assyria and Babylon would have to be confronted, dealt with and moved out of the way in order for the mercy of God toward His people to be manifested in the earth. Don’t be so quick to dismiss this concept within your heart and mind, for there are certain things within your life which must be dealt with, confronted, and moved out of the way in order for the mercy of God to be manifested. Consider that even with the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross of Calvary two thousand years ago, there were certain things which needed to be dealt with, confronted, and moved out of the way. When Jesus died upon the cross—even when He was buried in the earth for three days—there were principalities, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places which needed to be dealt with. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; AND HAVING SPOILED PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS, HE MADE A SHEW OF THEM OPENLY, TRUMPHING OVER THEM IN IT” (Colossians 2:13-15). “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that THROUGH DEATH HE MIGHT DESTROY HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH, THAT IS THE DEVIL; and deliver them who though fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15). “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The cross of Jesus Christ stands as a symbol of the mercy of God, yet it was through the cross and what was accomplished as a result of the cross that actually brought about the manifestation of the mercy of God.
It was through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that the mercy of God could be manifested in the earth, for before that mercy could ultimately and truly be manifested certain things needed to be dealt with, confronted and moved out of the way. The mercy of God could be manifested in the earth as a result of the cross of Jesus Christ, but only after death, hell and the grave were dealt with and confronted. The mercy of God could be manifested in the earth as a result of the cross of Jesus Christ, but only after principalities and powers were confronted and dealt with. Even the Devil himself was confronted and dealt with as a result of the cross, for the author of Hebrews writes that it was through death the Son would destroy that one who had the power of death—that is the Devil. I am thoroughly convinced that there are certain things within your life and within my life that need to be dealt with, confronted and moved out of the way. The mercy of God is to be manifested within your life, yet there are certain attitudes and thought patterns that must be dealt with. The mercy of God is to be manifested within your life yet there are certain patterns and tendencies which must be dealt with and moved out of the way. The prophet Isaiah prophesied and decreed the mercy of God toward Jacob—a mercy that would restore them once more to their own land—yet before that mercy could be manifested and displayed Babylon itself would need to be dealt with and moved out of the way. Before the mercy of God could truly be manifested toward and upon Jacob that which took them captive needed to be dealt with and completely taken out of the way. WHEN CAPTIVITY IS TAKEN CAPTIVE AND THE MERCY OF GOD FLOWS FORTH. These words from the prophet Isaiah indicate that before the mercy of God could be displayed toward Jacob that which had taken them captive needed to be removed completely. I can’t help but get the strong sense that the mercy of God is destined to be released within countless lives, yet before that mercy can be released and manifested that which has taken captive the people of God must be dealt with and completely removed. Babylon—those who invaded the inheritance, destroyed the Temple and took captive the people of God—needed to be judged and completely taken out of play.
The thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the prophetic book of Isaiah reveal that not only would Babylon herself be dealt with and removed, but also the king of Babylon would also be dealt with and removed. In all reality, the ultimate purpose for the judgment of Babylon and the judgment upon the king of Babylon was to bring about the mercy of God toward Jacob. The judgment of God upon Babylon and the king of Babylon was to bring about the restoration of the people of God to their inheritance—to bring them forth out of their captivity and to bring them once again into their own land. The mercy of God was to bring Jacob out of his captivity, as well as to bring him back into his inheritance—a reality which could not fully be realized and manifested until the Lord rose up and judged Babylon with its king. The Lord desires to manifest His mercy toward you—to restore the years of your captivity, to bring you forth out of your slavery and captivity, to bring out once more into your inheritance—yet with that mercy must also be a judgment upon your adversaries, your foes and your enemies. The Lord’s judgment upon Babylon and the king of Babylon would not destroy that which took the people of God captive, but would also bring about the rise of that one who would decree their restoration. WHEN THE JUDGMENT OF GOD LEADS TO THE DECREE OF YOUR RESTORATION! The Lord’s judgment upon Babylon and its king would ultimately lead to the decree of restoration for the people of God, which would be put forth and established by Cyrus. You will discover later in the prophetic book of Isaiah that before Cyrus even emerged on to the scene as king of the Medo-Persian Empire, the prophet Isaiah prophesied of his destiny in the earth—a destiny that would lead to the restoration of God’s people, and the restoration of the Temple of the Lord. Within the prophetic book of Isaiah the prophet not only prophesies of the judgment of one king, but also the rise of another king. The judgment of one king would be a demonstration and manifestation of mercy, while the rise of another king would also be a demonstration and manifestation of mercy. Permit me to ask the question of your own life and what needs to be dealt with, confronted and removed so the mercy of God can be manifested. What areas of captivity need to be dealt with in your life so the mercy of God can be manifested? WHEN CAPTIVITY IS CONFRONTED SO RESTORATION CAN BE MANIFESTED!
These two chapters reveal the incredibly powerful truth that the judgment of God needed to be released in the earth upon Israel’s captor and adversaries before His mercy could bring them forth. The prophetic writing of Isaiah reveals that not only was the one who took Jacob captive dealt with and judged, but those who oppressed and opposed Jacob were also dealt with. When Jacob returned from his captivity and returned to His own land the various adversaries which surrounded the inheritance were dealt with according to the judgment of the Lord. The mercy of God not only brought judgment upon Jacob’s captor, but also upon Jacob’s oppressors. We must get this deep within our spirits, for the Lord needs to not only deal with our captors, but also our oppressors as well. Consider these incredible words written by Isaiah in the second verse of this fourteenth chapter—“And they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors” (Isaiah 14:2). POSSESSING STRANGERS, TAKING CAPTIVE CAPTORS, and RULING OVER OPPRESSORS! The mercy of God toward Jacob would set them in their own land once more, and in that land they would possess strangers, take captive their captors, and rule over their oppressors. When Jacob was returned and restored to his own land it was not simply a matter of bringing them into the land, but there was a certain victory that was associated to it. Jacob was brought forth out his captivity and restored to his own land in order that from that place he could possess strangers, take captive his captors and rule over his oppressors. The Lord didn’t restore Jacob to his land so he could continue to be oppressed, nor did He deliver them from their captivity so they could continue to be taken captive. When the Lord returns and restores you to your inheritance He does so to restore you to the place of victory, the place of triumph, the place of overcoming—that place you were created and destined to occupy. It was the Lord’s mercy that dealt with and removed Jacob’s captor out of the picture, and it was the Lord’s mercy which dealt with the king which reigned over that land. How incredibly telling it is that the Lord dealt with king and kingdom alike in order that His mercy might be demonstrated and manifested toward His people.
“And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:3-4). REST FROM THY SORROW! REST FROM THY FEAR! REST FROM THY HARD BONDAGE! The mercy of the Lord not only brought Jacob to the place where he possess strangers, took captive his captors and ruled over his oppressors. The mercy of the Lord also provided Jacob rest from his sorrow, rest from his fear, and rest from the hard bondage in which he was made to serve. Oh dear brother, dear sister—the mercy of the Lord toward you is to be manifested to bring you into that place of complete rest. Permit me to ask you this question right now at this moment—What do you need rest from? What in your life do you desperately and completely need rest from? Do you need rest from fear? Do you need rest from sorrow? Do you need rest from bondage? Do you need rest from addiction? Do you need rest from doubt? Do you need rest from bitterness? Do you need rest from adultery and fornication? Do you need rest from anxiety? Do you need rest from cares and burdens which have long been weighing you down? Do you need rest from stress? What is it that you presently need rest from right now within your life? What has been preventing rest from being manifested within your life? Do you need rest even from your labor(s), your toil(s) and your work(s)? Have you been going continually and without stopping and are in desperate need of rest? When the Lord brought the children of Israel into the land of Canaan for the very first time He sought to provide them rest from their bondage in Egypt and from their journey in the wilderness. When the Lord brought the children of Israel back into that same land a second time He sought to provide them rest from their captivity in Babylon and even their journey back to the land itself. WHEN RETURNING TO THE LAND BRINGS YOU INTO A PLACE OF REST! The Lord’s judgment upon Babylon, and the Lord’s judgment upon the king of Babylon would ultimately lead to Jacob’s rest in the land of his inheritance—a rest that would be provided from sorrow, from fear and from hard bondage! There are men and women who right now desperately need rest from the hard bondage in which they have been made to serve—a reality which begs the question regarding what bondage one has been made to serve. What has produced bondage in your life which you desperately need to be granted rest from? If you are willing to be honest with what has held you captive to sorrow, to fear and to bondage, the Lord can and the Lord will deal with and judge both the king of Babylon and the very empire of Babylon itself.
One thing you will notice about this passage of Scripture is that it is only when the Lord gave Jacob rest from his sorrow, from his fear and from his hard bondage wherein he was made to serve that he was then released to take up this proverb against the king of Babylon. THE PROVERB OF REST! TAKING UP PROVERBS IN THE DAY OF REST! It’s incredibly interesting that this proverb was only taken in the day when the Lord gave Jacob rest from his sorrow, from his fear, and from the hard bondage which he was made to serve. The proverb which Jacob would take against the king of Babylon was not only a proverb concerning the actual physical king of Babylon, but that proverb went much deeper—a proverb not concerning an earthly king but the prince of darkness. “How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continuel stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee” (Isaiah 14:8-10). This proverb could not be taken until the day the Lord gave Jacob rest from his fear, his sorrow and the hard labor in which he was made to suffer. Pay careful attention to this, for you might not be taking up this proverb yet, but just because you haven’t taken up this proverb doesn’t mean that day and moment won’t come. What it means instead is that you are awaiting that moment when the Lord Himself gives you rest from your fear, from your sorrow and from the hard labor you have been made to serve. There are many right now who are awaiting that rest within their lives—a rest which comes when both the king of Babylon and Babylon itself is judged and removed from the picture. Beloved, do not be discouraged if you aren’t taking this proverb up right now, for it just means your rest is drawing nigh. There are men and women who right now aren’t aware that the rest which the prophet spoke of is drawing near them as I write these words.
“Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For He that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased from His own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1-11). When reading the fourteenth chapter of the book of Isaiah I can’t help but see the mercy of God as being displayed and manifested in granting rest to His people—a rest from their fear, from their sorrow, and from the hard bondage in which they were made to serve. This passage which contains within it a powerful prophetic utterance concerning Lucifer also seems to suggest that there is even a rest that is to be had and experienced from the threats, the oppression, the bondage, the fear, and the like which Lucifer launches against us. There is a rest from all striving and all labour, and there is a rest from all fear, all sorrow and all hard bondage. We must recognize and understand this rest and labor to enter into it—labor to enter into a rest from the captivity in which we have been made to serve. The mercy of God brings us into the place where we can enter into the Lord’s rest from fear, from sorrow and from all hard bondage, for the Lord judges, confronts and removes the king of Babylon and Babylon itself.
The word of instruction and caution the Lord would have you understand this day is that you must not give way to unbelief, nor give way to fear. To give yourself over to fear and even unbelief can prevent you from truly entering into and experiencing the rest which has been promised by the Lord. In fact, I would dare say that Lucifer’s single greatest strategy is to war and fight against rest in the heart, mind, soul and life of a believer. Consider how one generation of the children of Israel rejected the rest afforded them in the Promised Land because of fear, and as a result of their fear they were destined to wander in the wilderness forty years and ultimately perish within it. “Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us?” (Isaiah 14:10). “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:16-17). Do you want to know what I think? I think we will be utterly and completely shocked when we discover who Lucifer really was, and actually see this adversary who has caused so much chaos and havoc within and upon the earth. I am convinced that were we permitted to actually look upon this adversary we would be utterly and completely surprised at how misguided our view and impression of him truly is. The words mentioned in this particular passage are actually quite remarkable, for it almost seems to suggest that the inhabitants of the earth will look upon Lucifer in disgust, shock, and disbelief at who and what he actually was. LOOKING UPON YOUR ADVERSARY WITH DISGUST! LOOKING UPON YOUR ADVERSARY WITH DISDAIN! These words seem to suggest and speak of the inhabitants of the earth looking upon Lucifer and basically being in shock and utter disbelief that this was the one who was permitted to wreak so much havoc and chaos in the earth, and within their lives. UNMASKING THE ADVERSARY! I am convinced that the various images we have of Satan in the earth are used by him to present himself as being more dangerous, more deadly, and having more authority and power than he actually does. I would dare say that one of the single greatest necessities within our lives is to actively and actually see the Devil for who he is—a reality that comes only when the Lord Himself gives us rest from all our fear, all our sorrow, and from all our hard labor. WHEN REST REVEALS THE NATURE OF THE ADVERSARY! REST UNMASKS THE TRUE IDENTITY OF THE ADVERSARY! Oh that we would labor to enter into this rest so we can live a life where we possess strangers, take captive our captors, and rule over those who oppressed us—a life where we are no longer subject to fear, sorrow and hard bondage. It is from this place where we look upon our adversary in disgust and disdain—seeing him for who he truly is, which is a fraud and an imposter. The time has come for this adversary to no longer prey on your fears, your doubts, your anxieties, your worries, your cares, you insecurities, and the like. The time has come for this adversary to once and for all be unmasked in the day of your rest, as you look upon him with nothing but scorn, disgust, and disdain.