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Tumult in the Valley


Schoolchildren in tornado-prone areas of the country are familiar with the tornado drill. When the alarm sounds, they are to file quickly out of the classroom, perhaps carrying large binders or hardcover books, and follow the teacher to a basement room or interior hallway.

Once there, they assume a kneeling position and try to protect their heads with the binders or books. But any safety provided by the tornado drill and secure location depends on an advance warning that a tornado is coming. All the drills mean nothing if people don’t know when a tornado is headed their way.

The prophet Isaiah issues an advance warning in our chapters today, alerting the nations of the looming wrath of God. The coming ruin prepared for Babylon is so terrifying that the prophet shakes in fear and goes to great lengths to act as a watchman.

Already he has walked around naked and barefoot for three years in order to warn Egypt and Cush (Isaiah 20). Now he will stand like a sentinel in a tower for an indefinite number of long days and nights so that Babylon might hear of judgment and be warned.

Isaiah’s heart was broken over the refusal of people to heed the warnings and call to repentance. Not only did he care about his own nation of Judah but he was also faithful to God’s instruction to warn the enemy nations around him. We too need to be heartbroken over sin and faithful in proclaiming God’s message of sin, judgment, repentance, and faith.

Apply the Word

One of Judah’s sins was their refusal to obey God’s instruction to repent and lament (22:12). Do you have times of confession and repentance in your relationship with God? Does your church, small group, or Sunday school class practice regular times of lament? They are important for keeping our focus on the holiness and glory of God.

BY Eric C. Redmond

Eric C. Redmond serves as an assistant professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Mens’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway). He blogs at

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