The Lord had a message concerning “Babylon.” The Babylonians had their place in the history of humanity. They took over from the Assyrians, and another regional power would one day take over for them. For the brief time when they controlled the area east of Israel and Judah, the Lord would use them for His appointed purposes, even though they were not a righteous nation.
The power behind every possible throne or dominion can be none other than the Lord God Almighty. God even called the Babylonian forces “my consecrated ones,” but it was Jehovah who was using them to bring His discipline upon Judah. “I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proud exulting ones.”
The sovereignty of God in the affairs of all the nations should never be denied. Assyria, and then Babylon, were the great military powers in the days of Isaiah. Long after Babylon was gone from the earth, the name of that city would be used by biblical authors to refer to “proud exulting ones” from all of the nations of the world. In Revelation 14:8 when we read that “Babylon is fallen,” God is drawing us well beyond the history of Judah to a much later “day of the Lord.” Though the Lord would certainly use many nations for His own purposes in the centuries to come, all of them would one day be judged by God for their own arrogance and cruelty.
In speaking of the coming day of final judgment, New Testament authors like Matthew and Paul would use the words of Isaiah to refer to the troubles that would one day come upon the earth. It would be “like a woman in labor.” The heavens would declare the seriousness of the moment when “the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.”
Though Isaiah wrote about the specific nation that would destroy Jerusalem and would soon after be overtaken by the Medes and Persians (13:17), he gave strong indication in his ancient prophetic warning that the trouble from the Almighty would be far more widespread. The Lord said, “I will punish the world for its evil.”
Jehovah “will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant.” He used the history of His chosen nation to teach us the truth that God would one day humble “the glory of the kingdoms.” There is an ultimate day of destruction coming upon the whole earth. The only way of hope in that final Day of the Lord will be through faith in the Messiah. Because of His kind compassion, all who trust in Him will not only survive, but will even thrive as citizens of a kingdom that will never end.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, You are right to be angry with men in their arrogance. In Your people of old and in Your church at the present hour there is much surprising haughtiness. What will we do with our pride in the day of Your fierce anger? Where will we flee in that day? If judgment begins among the people who claim to know You, what will become of those who refuse to acknowledge Your Name in any good way? We grieve for those who suppress the knowledge of Your truth in unrighteousness. You have used powerful armies for Your purposes, but weapons and strategies will never save the world when You come to judge. Kings and kingdoms will not be able to stand when You determine that the end of their days has come.