1 Oy! land of whirring of wings, who sits beyond the rivers of Cush, 2 who sends messengers by the sea and in vessels of papyrus on the water’s surface! Go, swift messengers, to a stretched out and smooth-skinned nation, to a people feared from this and beyond — a mighty, mighty and trampling nation, whose land rivers divide. 3 All world inhabitants and land dwellers, when a signal flag is raised on the mountains, you must look, and when a trumpet is blown you must listen! 4 Because Yahveh said this to me: “I will be quiet, and I will look from my dwelling place like clear heat because of light — like a cloud of dew in harvest heat.” 5 Because before harvest, when the blossom is complete and a blossom becomes ripening fruit, and one cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and one removes, tears away the tendrils. 6 They will be left together for a mountain bird of prey and for the land animal. And the bird of prey will pass the summer on it, and every animal of the land will winter on it. 7 At that time, a gift will be brought to Yahveh of armies — a stretched out and smooth-skinned people, and from a people feared near and far, a mighty, mighty and trampling nation, whose land rivers divide, to the place of the name of Yahveh of armies, the mountain of Zion.
you must look, you must listen
In the midst of this prophecy about Ethiopia, Isaiah pauses and addresses all the nations and peoples of the world, telling them to pay attention to what is happening. I sense the frustration of a servant of God who has been called upon to tell a dying world that there is hope of eternal life, if they would only look and listen to what God is doing and saying. But the world is looking elsewhere, and listening to itself, and not its creator.
God is doing something today, and we can discern it. But his acts and words are wrapped up in the revealed word. We cannot hope to discern subjectively the plan of the LORD if we refuse to study and meditate on his objectively revealed truth. All of the prophets, the apostles, historians and poets of scripture call on us to stop looking elsewhere and pay attention to what he has said. The signal flag has been raised, and the trumpet has blown.
LORD, give us the wisdom to pay attention to your written word. Discipline us if we stray from it, and keep us from being distracted by other things – even “good” things.