In Isaiah 15, Isaiah proclaims a judgement against Moab.
“Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone;
because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone;”
The chapter goes on to describe Moab grieving over the destruction, and turning to their gods who can’t do anything. But I want to stop and look at verse 1 here.
The two phrases are almost identical, only the name of the city changes. Moab is undone because of the destruction. It instantly reminded me of Isaiah 6, when Isaiah is given a vision of God sitting upon His throne in the temple. Isaiah’s response matched Moab’s response in some ways.
“and I said: “Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
So Isaiah and Moab are experiencing something similar. Isaiah sees God’s glory in the temple, as the seraphim are worshiping. Moab sees God’s glory through His power to judge and destroy.
While both Moab and Isaiah had similar responses to God’s glory, the result of this response ended drastically differently! Moab was judged. Isaiah was cleansed, and commissioned in God’s service!
I believe that this comes down to the type of sorrow that they had. I know you’re thinking, “There is more than one kind of sorrow?” Well there is, check out what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:10
“For godly sorrow produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly sorrow produces death.”
It’s pretty easy to figure out which type of sorrow Isaiah had, and which type Moab had. Just look at the result of their sorrow. Isaiah was cleansed and commissioned, while Moab was defeated.
If you look back at Isaiah 6:5, Isaiah’s reason for being undone was seeing his sin. He said “Woe is me! … for I am a man of unclean lips;”
Isaiah knew that his sin meant he was unable to stand before God. God’s glory led to him seeing his sinful state. This might catch you off guard, but Moab could have had the same response. Moab could have turned to God, and been saved instead of judged. But they didn’t. Nobody chose for them. They chose their own sin, over a loving and forgiving God.
We can see this in Isaiah 15. Moab saw God’s glory through the power of His wrath (Yes, that is still God’s glory). Their response wasn’t an acknowledgement of their sin, or a repentance. There was no revival when this happened.
Moab did two things. First, they turned to their idols. Isaiah 15:2a, “He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon, to the high places to weep;” The high places were places that pagans worshiped their gods. They thought high places would make them closer to their god. Second, Moab got really upset. There was a lot of emotions, and a lot of crying, and weeping, and mourning. But it didn’t help them.
It didn’t help them because they were mourning over their judgement, not over their sin. I’ll put it this way, Moab wasn’t upset that they did that bad stuff, they were upset that they got caught.
God promises to honor sorrow that leads to repentance, true sorrow that acknowledges the wrongdoing on our part for our sin, and turns from that sin to God. When we repent of our sin and turn to Jesus, just as it happened for Isaiah, He promises to cleanse us, and to commission us.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”