And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve. — Isaiah 14:3
Compassion can make a difference and be a motivator. The story of six-year-old Ryan Hreljac is an example. In January 1998, Ryan sat in a Canadian classroom and grew more and more distressed as his schoolteacher described the sad situation of children living in Africa with little access to medicine, food, or clean water. As the teacher detailed the sadness and fear that gripped the lives of those African children, Ryan decided he would do something about it.
He discovered that $70 would pay for a well and he determined to raise the money. His parents agreed to pay him $1 per hour for additional chores. He set about cleaning, washing windows, picking up pinecones and more. Within three months he had raised enough for a well.
When Ryan presented the money to WaterCan, a nonprofit organization that funds well building in developing countries, he learned that although $70 would buy a hand pump, it actually cost $2000 to drill a well. Ryan’s response was, “I’ll just do more chores then.”
Because the Canadian International Development Agency matched WaterCan’s funds two for one, Ryan needed to raise $700. Ryan’s parents wanted to encourage him, so they emailed all their family and friends about his project. An article was printed in the town paper. Donations came in and Ryan continued doing his chores. By August, Ryan had raised the required $700.
In recognition of his achievement, Ryan, who by that time had turned seven, was invited to a WaterCan Board meeting to hear a Ugandan director of Aid and Development speak. The director hugged Ryan, thanking him for his well. He then went on to describe how much wells were needed; yet the process of digging was very slow. A portable motorized drill would make a great difference, but an additional $8,000 would need to be raised.
“I want everyone in Africa to have clean water,” said Ryan. And so he, with some help from his parents, set about the task. Newspapers and TV spread the word, and donations started to flow in. Ryan responded to each with a thank-you note. He spent hours hand-printing letters and seeking donations from businesses while his schoolmates started a contribution fund. By November 1999, the required amount had been received for the drill.
Ryan’s neighbor, impressed by his effort, donated his frequent flyer points so Ryan and his mother could travel to Uganda to see the well for which he had originally raised money. When he arrived, he was greeted by 5,000 cheering children and the village elders. For these people water was life, and they spent the day feasting and dancing in honor of Ryan.(1)
Ryan’s compassion for the people of Africa caused him to accomplish an amazing feat, especially considering his age. Today’s text provides another picture of compassion — the concern that comes directly from God Himself. Isaiah saw ahead to when the people of Judah would live long in bondage, and their days would be filled with many situations that would cause them fear, pain, and suffering. The focus verse lets us know that God would not be blind to the plight of His people, but would regard them with much compassion.
Perhaps you are facing painful circumstances. If so, God is aware, and He has compassion for you. Maybe God has placed a burden on your heart to make a difference in the life of someone else. As you show compassion, God will help your efforts and you and others will be blessed.
Isaiah 14 paints a picture of a mighty monarch whose pride brought him to destruction. In 539 B.C., Darius the Mede captured Babylon, and Belshazzar, King of Babylon was killed and his kingdom ruled by Darius. This chapter describes the king’s arrival in the world of the dead. All the wealth, prestige, and power that had belonged to Belshazzar were nothing, because death is the great leveler.
The phrase “son of the morning” in verse 12 refers to Satan and his fall from Heaven when he tried to usurp the power of God. Satan is an imitator, for even his name Lucifer, which means “morning star,” indicates that he tried to be like Jesus, who is “the bright and morning star” (see Revelation 22:16). Just as the destruction of the great Babylonian Empire would be completed, so Satan’s defeat will also one day be completed.
“The desert of the sea” could reference the area around the Persian Gulf. Isaiah used the picture of a desert storm to describe the attack of the Assyrians, which took place in 689 B.C. When Babylon would fall to the Assyrian army, it would open the way for them to sweep across the Fertile Crescent, claiming the region in conquest.
Verses 14-27 displayed God’s control over the affairs of man. God would use Assyria to accomplish His divine purpose in disciplining Israel but He would not allow the enemy to completely destroy His people. In 701 B.C. Assyria invaded Judah during Hezekiah’s reign, but God destroyed the army as it threatened to capture Jerusalem.
The last five verses of this chapter issued a warning to the Philistines. Though the decease of the Assyrian ruler would mean the decline of that kingdom, Isaiah compared it to a snake that gave birth to an even worse serpent. The next world power would be more oppressive. Verse 30 offered a special word of assurance for the people of Judah. Even though they were the poorest of the poor, they would have food and safety, while the Philistines would be wiped out by war and famine.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and judging
C. Prophecies related to the foreign nations
1. The judgment upon Babylon
b. The restoration of the remnant (14:1-2)
c. The song of Babylon’s destruction (14:3-23)
2. The judgment upon Assyria (14:24-27)
3. The judgment upon Philistia (14:28-32)
God’s compassion reaches out to us, and He wants us to reach out with His compassion to others.
1. Kathy Cook, “Ryan’s Well,” Readers Digest, July 2001.