Saturday, May 28, 2005

I will be a queen forever: Is 47

"Now, then, hear this, you sensual one, who dwells securely, who says in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me. I will not sit as a widow, nor know loss of children.' "But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure in spite of your many sorceries, in spite of the great power of your spells." (Isaiah 47:8-9)
Isaiah is prophesying concerning the nation of Babylon. God speaks of the judgment that He would later bring upon Babylon. While it was God who allowed Babylon to become great, it is also God who would judge her for her sins. Speaking of her judgment, God says,
"Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no longer be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, strip off the skirt, uncover the leg, cross the rivers. Your nakedness will be uncovered, your shame also will be exposed; I will take vengeance and will not spare a man." (Isaiah 47:1-3)
What were the sins of Babylon that would eventually lead to her distinction? Here are but a few:
  • "I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage and gave them into your hand. You did not show mercy to them, on the aged you made your yoke very heavy." (Isaiah 47:6) Babylon was God's chosen instrument to execute judgment upon the nation of Israel. Yet they rejoiced at Israel's calamity and gleefully overthrow them. They attributed their victories to their strength and did not realize that it was God who delivered the nations into their hands. Their judgment was not mingled with mercy. They were harsh and vicious and did not represent God's nature when He brings judgment upon His own.
  • "Yet you said, 'I will be a queen forever.' These things you did not consider nor remember the outcome of them." (Isaiah 47:7) Actions have consequences. When we fail to consider the consequences of our actions, we often end up reaping what we wished we hadn't. "Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she did not consider her future." (Lamentations 1:9) When making decisions, thought must be given to the long-term, eternal, consequences of those decisions, not just the present and temporary pleasure that they might bring.
  • "You felt secure in your wickedness and said, 'no one sees me.' " (Isaiah 47:10) Integrity is demonstrated in what we do when no one is looking. When we are all alone and no one is around to hold us accountable, do we continue to live righteously? Or do we revert back to a life lead by our lusts and desires? We must always remember that, even if no one else sees, God is always watching.
  • "Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; for you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me.' " (Isaiah 47:10) Sometimes, the people who are most closed to the truth are those who already believe that they have truth. It is hard to tell someone the truth when they think they already know it. "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish , so that he may become wise." (1 Corinthians 3:18) The wisdom of man will always lead us astray. We must seek the wisdom that comes from God.
  • "You are wearied with your many counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you." (Isaiah 47:13) There are many voices offering wisdom in our culture today. All you have to do is turn on the television and you will see the various versions of "wisdom" and "counsel" that are being espoused today. Each voice claims to be enlightened, each voice claims to know the way. But if we follow the wrong voice, it will lead us down a pathway that leads to pain, suffering, and destruction. We must turn a deaf ear to the voices of the world and learn to hear God's voice. It is only by following His voice and counsel that we will find the way of life and peace.
David Robison

5 comments:

  1. Like every of your bible studies good and substantial stuff. Thank you David! Isaiah is describing a rich and proud nation, probably the best educated compared to others. High self-esteem, a nation of kings and queens. Isn't that America? Babylon was God's chosen instrument. America too. I don't know any other nation that has sent so many missionaries into the world than the US. There is no other country having so much global influence than North America.
    Loss of children and widowhood for Old Testament times was not only emotional loss, but most of all loss of financial security and social safety. I know that many, if not most of fine evangelical Christians in America would utterly struggle, if God would take away their financial security and social safety. Isaiah opens our eyes for the illusion we are living in. I don't want to talk about the "Megashift" right now, but I also see worldwide God blessing those the most who don't have what made America so famous.
    When making decisions, thought must be given to the long-term, eternal, consequences of those decisions. Let us seek the Beatitudes' "spiritual poverty", turn a deaf ear to the voices of the world, focus on eternity. And nothing else. Than we have understood Isaiah's prophetical radicalism.
    Ben Oehler, Odessa, Ukraine

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  2. Anonymous9:54 PM

    It may be easy to call America the current synonym for 'Babylon', depending on your point of view. It's culture has become so corrupt and wicked, but it's principles and 'heart' are still good. It's tax dollars feed a large part of the world, missionaries freely leave our borders to give the Gospel and as a nation, we have continually showed His people 'mercy'. Americans willingly leave 'home and hearth' to free others from dictators and offer help where ever they can.

    I have a tendancy to believe that the passage discussed here in Isaiah 47 has a future fulfillment with a literal Babylon...in Iraq.

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  3. I highly appreciate your honest and courageous response to last night's blog about Isaiah 47. Yet it saddens me, because I fear that you run risk to apply Isaiah's radical challenge to others but not to yourself. It reminds me a little bit of evangelistical conversations with non-believers. Being confronted with their sinful life they normally would point to their neighbor who must be an ugly sinner. They themselves have a 'good heart'.
    Don't be angry with me. I am not Isaiah. But one thing I know for sure, the prophetical message in this passage is not only addressed to the nation of Iraq, Europeans and Americans might be included.
    Ben Oehler, Odessa, Ukraine

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  4. Anonymous11:36 AM

    No Ben...I was not excluding the United States. Perhaps only venting against the "hate America first" attitude that I see pervading the World. "There is none righteous, no not one" and that includes Nations as well as individuals.

    As Christians in America, it's very painful to watch the demise of our culture that once respected the Scriptures and honored Godly men. Soon, the *spoiled* Christians of the U.S. will begin to experience a more intense persecution that we have not previously experienced.

    Concerning my comments about a future fulfillment with a literal Babylon, I was referring to (perhaps) the stage being set for the events preceding the Lord's return and literal Babylon's relationship with His people, Israel.

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  5. Thank you Jo Anne for giving more detail and background to your blog. I actually prayed all day long about your words, pondering about what you really said. I am absolutely one with you, your second comment, and your pains. We Christians in the so-called "Third-World" countries pray for our brothers and sisters in the US and Western Europe. Your way of following our Lord Jesus in a kind of "over-developed" society seems to be much tougher than in our countries.
    Be blessed. And thank you again.
    Ben Oehler, Odessa, Ukraine

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