Isaiah 18 is one of the most difficult of all the prophesies in this book. In the days of Isaiah, Ethiopia was a major world power, ruling Egypt and was a chief rival to Assyria. Since Judah was caught in the middle of the conflict between these two super powers of their day, it might make sense for Judah to align herself with Ethiopia against Assyria. The scene pictures some Ethiopian ambassadors who come to make an alliance with Judah and the other nations of the region against Assyria. They are trying to put together a group of nations to fight Assyria.
The Ethiopians are hopeful Judah will join them in battle. “Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide”. The Ethiopian ambassadors invite Judah to rebel against the Assyrians and send swift messengers back to Ethiopia to let them know they have rebelled against Assyria and aligned with Ethiopia and Egypt. They are looking for an answer and to hear Judah’s decision.
But God wants no part of a treaty with Ethiopia. He doesn’t need their help. “For thus the Lord said to me: I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest”. The Lord God rejects the alliance with Ethiopia, because He is more than able to deal with the Assyrians Himself. He can take His rest without any help. If God wanted to present an army against Assyria, He would have raised a banner or sounded a trumpet. He is fully able to do it, and would do it when the time is right. He wasn’t looking for help from the outside.
In fact, the prophet says that the Ethiopians will someday worship God. Not only does He not need their help, He’s also going to be worshipped by them. “At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts”. Instead of Israelite messengers bringing news to Ethiopia of an alliance against Assyria, the day will come when Ethiopians will come and worship at Mount Zion. God has always been in control. And every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord!