Tyre, the impressive international trading power of the ancient Near East, had this assessment of herself: “I am perfect in beauty.” Despite her outstanding ability to profit from others, she would be destroyed before long.
Ezekiel presented Tyre as a ship with its components purchased from all her commercial partners out of many lands. Her mast, deck, oars, sails, and even most of the labor required to power and defend the great boat had come from afar. She had “exchanged human beings and vessels of bronze” for her merchandise. Only the ship’s “pilots” were citizens of Tyre.
Though this sizable cargo carrier “heavily laden” with all of her possessions may have seemed unstoppable, an “east wind” would bring about her destruction. The Babylonians would soon bring great trouble upon the prosperous nation.
Tyre’s admirers who had appreciated her success would be amazed by the news of her fatal end. All of her goods, together with “all your men of war who are in you with all your crew” would suddenly be lost. Because of this shocking defeat many people groups would wail “with bitter mourning.” In their lament they would acknowledge how far the city had fallen. “Who is like Tyre, like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?” They also expressed the disappointment that would be felt by powerful people who had participated in her triumphs. “You enriched the kings of the earth. Now you are wrecked by the seas.”
It is a heady privilege to be an international superstar nation. Tyre would be replaced by the Babylonians who would be a symbol forever of the arrogance of economic power (Revelation 18). Worldwide commercial giants are not able to retain their leading positions forever. Babylon would give way in just a few years to the Medes and the Persians. The Greeks would then have their own victory march, but they would eventually be replaced by the Romans. And so it has continued throughout the centuries.
In the days when Rome seemed to rule over the nations, the only eternal King came in person. His humble beginnings as the child of a poor woman and His suffering at the hands of Jewish and Roman authorities culminated in His death on a cross. Such a destiny would hardly seem to be a sign of victory. Yet the Word of God incarnate will be perfect forever long after all the great powers of the earth have been forgotten.
Any remaining artifacts from Tyre are owned by museums of ancient history or wealthy collectors who have a special interest in archaic objects. We treasure the living Christ in our hearts and are always ready to give a reason for the hope that inspires millions of the faithful throughout the earth. (1 Peter 3:15)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Lord, the world has been engaged in dedication to wealth accumulation for many centuries. Surely we cannot pretend that greed and covetousness are just another reasonable lifestyle choice? There is a dangerous love for riches that leads so many astray. Will we walk that road and still pretend that You are Lord? How can we serve both You and unrighteous gain? We are happy to see prosperity around us, but not the love of riches. Teach us how to relate to the world with the mercy of Christ and to proclaim Your truth with uncompromising integrity.