The Lord's first wake-up call to Israel came in an invasion by Assyria. This archenemy attacked two Israelite provinces, Zebulun and Naphtali. Fortunately, the attacks were limited to these two points, and the damage was minimal. Yet God was clearly speaking to His people. The Lord's chosen nation lost their sense of security and missed the message God was speaking.
Israel then received a second wake-up call and this one was very severe. Two nations whom Scripture calls the "enemies of Israel"—the Syrians and the Philistines—combined forces for a sudden attack. According to Isaiah, this attack came from both "before, and . . . behind" (Isaiah 9:12). This means the invaders came from the east and the west, surrounding Israel. And their sudden attack was totally devastating.
After the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, most Americans were asking: Where was God in this sudden invasion? What were His people to make of the disaster that had come upon them? Isaiah tells us God was faithful to speak to His people in Israel’s day: "The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel" (Isaiah 9:8). God spoke a clear word and He sent the message to the whole nation.
Beloved, this verse tells us something very important at our own time of devastation. It says simply, "God always sends His word." Never in history has the Lord left His people clueless in a time of calamity. He has never abandoned us and forced us to figure out things on our own. He always provides a word of understanding.
Even now the Lord is raising up godly watchmen to speak for Him in these times. These shepherds are grieving, weeping and repenting as they seek God's face. And I believe they're hearing and understanding the Lord's message behind the present events. Moreover, they're not afraid to proclaim dire warnings, because they know they've heard from God. They're compelled to speak of His purposes behind our calamities.