Isaiah 21: Go, Set a Watchman (No, not from Harper Lee…)

(17 verses, 2:00 to read)


What I am about to READ

God announces impending doom for the Babylonians, among others.


God reveals to the prophet that Babylon will be destroyed in judgement for “all the sighing she has caused” (vs. 2).  Babylon was ever a source of sighing for the nation of Israel and in the scriptures the figure of Babylon would often represent antipathy toward God and his commandments, as it does in the New Testament’s book of Revelation.  God announces that he will use the nations of Elam and Media to accomplish the downfall of Babylon and indeed these nations assisted in overthrowing the king of Babylon in 539 BC (Dan. 5) ((Isaiah prophesied this 150-175 years beforehand)).

The Lord’s words to Isaiah to “Go, set a watchman” (vs. 6) indicate that Isaiah is to be watchful for the news of this fulfillment of the Lord’s words, standing as it were, upon the walls of Israel as a night watchman with no rest.  As the events described in the Lord’s words would come well after Isaiah died, one would do well to heed the words of the Lord always, standing perpetually on watch for the fulfillment of all that the Lord has said.  American author Harper Lee of “To Kill a Mockingbird” fame used this verse as the title for her latest book “Go, Set a Watchman”.

God’s word is always fulfilled, even if it is delayed.  God often does not give exact time parameters for his work to be done, as he does in some of the prophecies of the Christ.  Nevertheless, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…(Gal: 4:4). Now that he is come, Jesus instructs us to be ever watchful for his second coming and to live in perpetual readiness for the fulfillment of his word.


Lord Jesus, you fulfill your word and your promises are never broken.  You have promised that I am your beloved child in Holy Baptism and you have promised that you are coming soon.  Help me to live as a watchman standing high on Zion’s wall, awaiting with anticipation your coming in glory.  In your Name I pray. Amen.


Pr. Ross






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