Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Isiah 21: Falling Babylon

In chapter 21, we read about the fall of Babylon.  Given the trouble that comes from Babylon and all the unfavorable references to it in scripture, one would think that this would be a joyous thing to behold.  Who wouldn’t want to celebrate the destruction of a great enemy?  Not so with Isaiah:

3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was adismayed at the seeing of it.

4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.

Isaiah is deeply moved and troubled by this vision. What did he see?  How much love and compassion did he have for his enemy?   Love for an enemy is a characteristic of those who have Christ’s love inside them.  They are not delighted by the fall of the wicked, they are terribly sad at the destruction of god’s children.  This thought is reflected and stated in several places in scripture.  Here’s a few that come to mind:

-       Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

-       Moses 7:28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

-       Mormon 6:17 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.  

-       Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

-       Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Yes, Babylon must fall, but I should try to see the terrible price of such a destruction.  It should cause me to weep to contemplate the sealing of the fate of countless of God's children caught up by the "mother of abominations."  If my eye is single to the glory of God, would not this contemplation spur me into action?   How much of my actions are influenced by pure compassion for the souls of people who would be considered by enemies?  That’s a hard question!   And yet, if there is ever to be peace in the world, it must be populated by people who believe the worth of a soul is great, even to the point of believing an enemy can be saved.  No wonder we need to have faith.  No wonder we need to have hope. No wonder we must be optimistic, pray for peace, renounce war, and try with our might to save as many of our brothers and sisters who will come out of the world!     


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