Swimming in Sewage

On that day his people will say, "This is our God; we have waited for him, and now he will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him. Let us rejoice and be glad because he will save us." The LORD'S power will be on this mountain. Moab will be trampled beneath him like straw that is trampled in a pile of manure. The Moabites will stretch out their hands in the manure like swimmers who stretch out their hands to swim. The LORD will humble those arrogant people despite the movements of their hands. He will bring down Moab's high fortified walls, level them, and throw them into the dust on the ground. (Isaiah 25:9-12 GW)

I am sometimes surprised and challenged whenever I pick up a different version of the Bible and begin reading. I have found that although every version of the Bible has problems in translation, both from the biases of the translators as well as misunderstandings at times of even the writers themselves in their perceptions of what God is like; each translation brings into sharp focus aspects and insights that seem to be completely missed by most other translations. That is why I find it stimulating and helpful to read multiple versions of the Word of God so that people coming from different perspectives can highlight things that others may have overlooked.

A few days ago I picked up the Message Bible which is one I admit I have never read before, but I have enjoyed being exposed to it when quoted on occasion. Just for inspiration I decided to open it at random and begin reading while asking the Spirit to speak to me through whatever might come to my attention. I landed on the page showing Isaiah 26, and after reading for a few verses decided to look over at chapter 25 and see what might show up there. That is when I came across this rather unusual rendition of the passage first quoted above from a different, more mainstream version.

Also at that time, people will say, “Look at what's happened! This is our God! We have waited for Him and He showed up and saved us! This God, the one we waited for! Let's celebrate, sing the joys of His salvation. God's hand rests on this mountain!”
As for the Moabites, they'll be treated like refuse, waste shoveled into a cesspool. Thrash away as they will, like swimmers trying to stay afloat, they'll sink in the sewage. Their pride will pull them under. Their famous fortifications will crumble to nothing, those mighty walls reduced to dust. (Isaiah 25:9-12 Message)

Having become quite immersed in pursuing a better appreciation and understanding of the truth about God's character and personality over recent years, I could find this passage somewhat challenging in some respects, though it is quite tame compared to others that can be found. However, what also caught my attention was something that seems suspiciously connected not far away in the very next chapter. While you are free to draw your own conclusions about what all this might mean, I do find these verses rather stimulating with their vivid imagery and inferences about some of the things that may yet transpire in the war between good and evil, light and darkness.

Those who lived high and mighty He knocked off their high horse. He used the city built on the hill as fill for the marshes. All the exploited and outcast peoples build their lives on the reclaimed land. (Isaiah 26:4-5 Message)


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