Thursday, October 19, 2006

Isaiah 14 - The fate of Babylon

This chapter is like a capstone to the several previous chapters, illuminating promises from the Lord concerning the wicked and the righteous in the last days.   The first sentence in the chapter is very telling:

            For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob …

This is followed by a verse that was touching to me:

3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve

This is a nice continuation of a common theme throughout Isaiah:  the Lord may chastise us when we disobey, but his mercy is always extended to us if we repent and he is willing to forgive generously.  The result is that all will be made right and the condition of the righteous will be better than they imagined.

The most interesting part of the chapter to me was the poetic pronouncement against Babylon.  In some ways this is literal, but there is also a marvelous symbolic meaning in all of it that paints a picture to give us a clear perspective on Satan and his kingdom.  I will highlight some of the things I learned:

  • Satan’s Kingdom is Babylon – the world.  It will one day come to a complete end, swept clean with a broom of destruction, as Isaiah puts it. 
  • This kingdom is in appearance as a rich and mighty city and people will be astonished when it falls. 
  • One of the goals of Babylon is to fill the world with its cities.
  • Babylon is a waster of the natural resources of the Earth.  The very trees will sing with joy at its destruction.
  • The pride of Babylon is that it made itself to be greater than God, seeking all power, dominion, and glory.
  • Any gains that Babylon makes in this world will eventually be exposed as counterfeits.  When we see the end from the beginning, we will look upon Satan in astonishment.  We will see him in his final state and marvel that he ever could have had so much influence over the world.
  • Babylon and its ruler, the devil, will fall below all.  Even the earthly leaders of Babylon, who dwell in Hell, will be in a position lofty enough to see that it has fallen to the depths, and will be “trodden under [their] feet”

The Lord makes very clear in the chapters of Isaiah that he is against the Kingdom of Babylon, and his purpose to eventually cleanse the “whole Earth” of it.  One thing that really struck me as I was writing this is that it is important for us to face Babylon with faith and courage.  We often look at it fatalistically, believing that there is nothing we can do to stem the tide of evil that will sweep the earth.  I think we should look at it a different way.  Babylon is all smoke and mirrors and in the end it will fall completely and utterly.  Part of the reason it will fall is that people on the earth will choose the ways of the Lord and will enjoy his protection.  I believe we can therefore take courage against Babylon in the understanding that our personal choices for good have a real effect in the world and will eventually bring about the Lord’s designs.  We can be on the winning team!


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