Thorns will overrun her citadels,
nettles and brambles her strongholds.
She will become a haunt for jackals,
a home for owls.
Isaiah 34:13 (NIV)
If you travel down by the Dead Sea today and look to the south you’ll be looking at the lands of the ancient kingdom of Edom. The Edomites were one of ancient Israel’s constant foes and in today’s chapter the prophet Isaiah predicts (with more than a hint of schadenfreude) that Edom would become a place of desolation, the home of desert animals.
I had the opportunity to stand on the southern shores of the Dead Sea and to look at the land. The featured photo of this post is one I took of the southern end of the Dead Sea. It is a very desolate place. Isaiah’s schadenfreude aside, his prophetic vision of Edom’s downfall was eventually realized. The Edomites slowly declined and the Kingdom of Edom did not survive the Babylonian invasion in the 6th century B.C..
One of the subtle lessons that was impressed on me while traveling in Israel was the transience of civilization. There are so many ruins, archaeological digs, and desolate places where great cities and kingdoms once thrived. It was a reminder to me of the breadth of human history and how each of us experience just a minute sliver of it.
I read Isaiah’s prophecy of doom for Edom and I can’t help but wonder if my quaint little hometown of Pella will be an archaeological site 1,000 years from now. It is so easy to think about our lives and world in such assured terms. A brief glance at history reminds me how silly such thinking can be.
This morning I’m thinking about the transience of kingdoms, nations, and empires. I’m reminded of the transience of my own life. Especially in this current season, I’m reminded that Jesus said He came that we might experience Life in abundance. A good reminder to enjoy all that this day holds.