v. 12-15 "This is what the Lord says:
Although they have allies and are numerous,
they will be cut off and pass away.
Although I have afflicted you, O Judah,
I will afflict you no more.
Now I will break their yoke from your neck
and tear your shackles away.
The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh:
You will have no descendants to bear your name.
I will destroy the carved images and cast idols
that are in the temple of your gods.
I will prepare your grave,
for you are vile.
Look, there on the mountains,
the feet of one who brings good news,
who proclaims peace!
Celebrate your festivals, O Judah,
and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you;
they will be completely destroyed."
Depending what side of the fence you are on will determine how you see God. If you are following His decrees then you are under His protection, grace will abound and you see a loving God. If you are consumed by anger, hatred and unforgiveness then you will see a mean God. We have a choice to make, a decision that will determine our destiny. This message was to give hope to Judah who had been under attack from Nineveh.
God begins this section with the observation that the enemy has many on their side and sounds invincible, but they will still be cut down. God does not do this to brag about His powers. This is for for our benefit. When we see the odds are overwhelmingly against us then we have to remember that God is more, He is greater than anything else.
Here is says that God afflicted Judah. He didn't ignore them or walk away from them. God took action against people who walked away from Him. To be afflicted means: to distress with mental or bodily pain; trouble greatly or grievously, to overthrown, defeat or humble. Why did God afflict Judah? After Solomon died the kingdom was split into two different lands. The northern kingdom was Israel and the southern kingdom was Judah. Does anyone else know what happens when a land splits up? Your power, military, wealth, etc. is weakened by the division. You are prone to attacks from other countries. Many of the kings of both lands (Israel and Judah) were evil and corrupt and some killed the prior king to gain power. Is anyone wondering why God would let His people be captured when they kept turning away from Him?
God broke the yoke from the people. A yoke was a device for joining two animals together to control them so that a farmer could plow a field. Yoke also means something that binds together, a bond or a tie. A weight is lifted from their spirit, soul and maybe a physically feeling of being set free.
The thought of God preparing graves is one of those verses that just stick out to me. I don't think this is one of those scriptures that is hard to decipher. God was not messing around here, He meant business. Wow.
God made those nameless that had in turn made their captives destroy the bones of their ancestors which took away their history and family names. God knows justice.
We see that it is not all bad news, for the people of Judah they are to celebrate their festivals again, but they are also suppose to fulfill their vows. We can not just celebrate and have a party when we become a Christian. When we come to the Father we have to repent for our sins. While they were captives they could not celebrate or pursue their religion. When God sets us free we are to celebrate Him, celebrate life and honor God in all that we do.