International trade is a way of life for all of the prosperous nations of the world. Disaster in one land will have serious consequences for the economic life of other countries. The history of ancient Tyre is a good example of this principle.
Tyre was a place known for its ships and merchants. Many nations counted on trade with this small but very powerful business partner. If Tyre were to fall, other lands would miss the economic benefit of their engagement with this port city. Isaiah lists Tarshish, Cyprus, and Egypt as among those who will be distressed with the loss of their trading partner. Egypt would be in “anguish.” Tarshish would “wail.”
There are few specifics in this prophecy that would help us to pinpoint the historic events referred to in this chapter. What we do see clearly is the ultimate source of the trouble that Tyre will face. “The Lord of hosts has purposed it.” We also see the reason for God’s judgment. It was because of the “pompous pride” of this land of commercial prosperity.
Like a “forgotten prostitute,” the nation of Tyre would go around the cities of the world, singing songs of better days. She hoped her memory would not be completely erased from the minds of the lands that once were her customers. At the end of some defined period, her business would be restored to the benefit of the people of the Lord. God’s purpose for even this proud city would certainly be accomplished.
When we have large bank accounts we imagine that we are gods and the masters of our own lives. We proudly boast about our plans to go here and there and to make more and more money. But we do not even know when our lives will be required of us. In a few short years it is the destiny of almost every man to be forgotten by others.
It is the deceptiveness of riches that causes a man to think that this will never happen to him. By contrast, the story of our Savior is so very different. He was born in a state of profound humiliation and He died on a cross after soldiers had cast lots for the garment He was wearing. Yet at the name of Jesus ever knee shall one day bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
We don’t think very much about Tyre and Sidon today. Their time has come and gone. But the poor man who came to give His life for sinners is still the Lord of His church, and He will be highly exalted forever and ever. Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away, but there is something about the person of Jesus Christ and the story of the events of His life and death that convinces us that He is always worthy of the most serious consideration.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
God of Grace, in every season of life we should turn away from evil and turn toward You. The world does not understand what to do in the time of trouble. Will we who acknowledge Your glorious Name be just as foolish as the world when we face overwhelming difficulties? Teach us to turn away from everything unclean. We do not want to be enslaved in spiritual immorality. We long to be Your pure bride forever.