Oil the Shields! -- By Lyn Chaffart

"Get up, you officers, oil the shields!" (Isa 21:5)

Haven't you ever felt sorry for the Old Testament prophets?  They were often required to "act out" their prophecies.  You know, like poor Hosea who was told he had to marry an adulteress (Hosea 1), or Ezekiel, who was required to shave his head and burn parts of his hair in different parts of the city (Ezekiel 5), and worse yet, was require to bake bread over cow dung and eat it (Ezekiel 4).  Each and everyone of them was also required to see sights in vision that must have wrenched their hearts apart.  This is how poor Isaiah must have felt after having seen the vision recorded in Isaiah 21.  The bible records Isaiah's reaction with these words:  "A dire vision has been shown to me: . . . this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see. My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; . . . the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me." (Isaiah 21 2-4).  What was it that shocked Isaiah so much?  Isa 21:9,10: "'Babylon has fallen, has fallen!  All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!' Oh my people, crushed on the threshing floor . . ." and what are the officers of Israel doing just prior to this?  Isa 21:5: "They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink!"
Is it any wonder that in anguish and despair, Isaiah cries out: "Get up, you officers, oil the shields!" (Isa 21:5)?
Yes, this prophecy really affected Isaiah.  Why?  Because this is personal to him!  But it's the past, right?  We don't need to concern ourselves with this!  Or do we?  This phrase, "Babylon has fallen, has fallen!" (Isaiah 21:9) sounds so much like another:  "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!" (Rev. 18:2).  This isn't just some prophecy of past history, my friends!  It's here!  It's now!  Yes, we do need to concern ourselves!  Today, my friends, we have even more reason to cry out in anguish, for like in Isaiah's time, we have also " . . . set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink!" with nary a care in the world.  How many Christians give more than a few moments thought and contemplation to the Great Commission?  How many make spreading the Word of God their # 1 priority, so that everyone will have the chance to choose Jesus?  Isaiah's cry to the officers of his day is still relevant to us today, my friends:  "Get up, you officers, oil the shields!" (Isa 21:5)
But just how can we "oil the shields"?  After all, we don't even really use shields in modern-day battles! 
The Bible commonly uses the symbol of "oil" to represent the Holy Spirit.  Likewise, the Bible admonishes us to take up the "shield" -- the "shield of faith"!  (See Ephesians 6:16).  The prophet Isaiah cries out in all anguish for us to strengthen our faith by seeking and accepting God's Holy Spirit!  We must be on the alert, and our only defense is our shield of faith, but it must be oiled by the Holy Spirit! 
Babylon will fall, my friends!  Wake up and prepare yourselves and those around you by seeking God's Spirit so that your faith may be strong enough to withstand the upcoming siege!  For let us not forget the consequence of not heeding this warning: "Oh my people, crushed on the threshing floor . . ."  (Isaiah 21:10)
"Get up, you officers, oil the shields!" (Isa 21:5)

In His love,

Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org