By Rev. Hilda Warwick
Here we are again at a new chapter (13) in Isaiah. It begins with the day of the Lord, plunging straight into a battle scene. God is proclaiming war against the pride and arrogance of the nations, including the nations of Judah and Jerusalem.
But the question is why? This passage is designed to shape Israel’s world view. A reminder that Israel lives in the light of the Truth about God. A reminder that the nations do not have power and majesty that was superior to God Himself. A reminder that God’s power was not limited to the realms of Judah. We can see that God is at work in our world.
But this poem moves to identify the historical force that will terminate Babylonian power. A nation that has raised itself up in self-confidence and pride against God Himself. Those who have challenged His rule upon the earth, now find themselves in deep trouble.
So what is the emphasis, human failure, wickedness, perversity? People have fallen short of God’s glory and His expectations. The problem was expressed in self-confidence that belittled God’s exaltedness and authenticity.
What does this mean? And what does it mean for us? Simply! God hates pride. In all its forms.
There is a cosmic dimension to this response from God .The nations have challenged His rule and authority and now God Himself is making a response against the arrogance and pride of nations and any power that try to supersede the rule of God .Babylon will be left without resource or possibility because of the arrogance that it displayed . The agents that God uses are the Medes, a six century state that arose to threaten Babylonian domination. Why is this important? This poem identifies the historical force that will terminate Babylonian power. But behind it all is the work of God who chooses to work through people to accomplish His purposes. The city that was once proud and arrogant will now be a permanent ruin, so devastated and levelled that it will never recover.
What can we see from this text? The pride and arrogance of the ruthless are wrong because they represent the pretence to be God .In a time of Babylonian confidence the people would have wondered if such a demise was possible, yet history tells us that it happened.
So what does this passage point to? Isaiah knows what God’s priorities and intentions are. It is foolish to trust in the nations around Jerusalem, and Isaiah’s claims are a reminder that our trust should be in the worldwide and absolute power of God. These prophecies point to God’s work, long after the writing of them. Pointing to His work in the world as a whole over two centuries, and still speaking to us today. This passage helps us to understand that God works throughout the generations and therefore in our lives too, over long periods of time .Let us acknowledge Him in all our ways, that He will direct our paths.
Heavenly Father we recognise that we need You to be at the centre of all we do. May our words and actions reflect Your Lordship in our lives, and may we see you at work throughout history in our waiting times. In Jesus name. Amen.