God judges Babylon!
Scripture reading for July 21st: Isaiah 13-16
Babylon was an ancient kingdom in the time of Isaiah. It rose to world-dominating status a few decades after the ministry of the prophet. As a city, Babylon rose to legendary status with it’s walls surrounding it and it’s hanging gardens. It was located in the present-day country of Iraq and was near to where the Garden of Eden was originally located. Babylon was characterized by pride, false religion, idolatry and man-centered achievement. God, however, hates pride and idolatry, and promises judgment on those made in His image who oppose His people and plans. Isaiah, in the chapters for today, brings God’s Word to those in Babylon.
God has an army of “holy ones” who will carry out His wrath and judgment. (Isaiah 13:3) He warns the Babylonians that His judgment is coming. God is merciful to those outside of His covenant as well as to His own people! God’s army will bring “the day of the Lord”, a day of wrath against sinners. (Isaiah 13:6-9) This judgment will put an end to pride and arrogance and the evil of the wicked. It will be a day of trembling heavens and shaking on the earth! (Isaiah 13:11-13) This army of “holy ones” will be none other than the Medes! (Isaiah 13:17) Isaiah prophetically predicted what God would do over 150 years before it happened! Daniel the prophet got to read the handwriting of God on the wall of Babylon the night it fell to the Medes! (Daniel 5:25-28) The city would be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah, never to be inhabited again! (Isaiah 13:19-20)
Isaiah sees the day when God will have compassion on Israel and settle them in their own land. (Isaiah 14:1-2) Others will join themselves to Israel and Israel will possess the nations that have taken them captive! What an amazing picture of hope to a people who would be judged and scattered throughout the world! God’s Word is amazing and true!
The rest of Isaiah 14 is a taunt against the “king of Babylon” to be spoken by God’s people in the day they are set free! God, Himself, would break the power of this wicked king. He would be brought down to the grave and maggots and worms would cover him. All those leaders of the world now in the grave will be stirred and respond to this ‘king’ in ridicule. (Isaiah 14:9-11) The ridicule then turns into what some believe is a description of Satan and his pride and fall. The “king” is called “morning star” and is cast down to the earth. He is cast down because he has said in his heart that he will raise his throne above the stars of God. (Isaiah 14:12-15) In a series of five “I will” statements, this “king” promises he will make himself like the “Most High”! God, however, judges this “king” and brings him down to the grave!
Behind all earthly political power and humanistic pride lurks the evil influence of Satan! God is in control and will judge him and all who stay under Satan’s influence. We must be born again to escape! God has provided the way out in Jesus Christ! We can take up the taunt today against the “king of Babylon”! He loses and we win!