Passage: Isaiah 13:1-8
Proclamation Against Babylon
1 The burden against Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.
2 “Lift up a banner on the high mountain, raise your voice to them; wave your hand, that they may enter the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded My sanctified ones; I have also called My mighty ones for My anger—those who rejoice in My exaltation.”
4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like that of many people! A tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters the army for battle.
5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven—The LORD and His weapons of indignation, to destroy the whole land.
6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. 7 Therefore all hands will be limp, every man’s heart will melt,
8 and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames.
Journal: Thus far, Isaiah primarily has dealt with the threat of Israel, Syria, and Assyria against Judah, and his prophecy has been that the threat will amount to little. He now turns his attention to Babylon (and even Persia), and will ultimately pronounce that this threat will amount to a great deal (Babylon will overrun Judah and Persia will overrun Babylon). This is no obvious prediction, for Assyria was the world power, much more so than Babylon, and Persia wasn't even on the radar of world powers at the time of Isaiah. This prophecy is so amazing that many reject that Isaiah wrote the prophecy, or that it could have been written at this time in history. So it is with those that have no faith, with those that reject the power of God.
Here, Isaiah references the Babylonians as his "weapons of indignation" against Judah (v. 5), similar to His previous reference to the Assyrians as His "rod of anger" against Israel (Isaiah 10:5). War results from the sinful nature of man (without the fall of man there would be no war), and yet God uses war (and sinful, warring nations) to discipline the sinful nature of His children. The conquest of Israel by Assyria, the conquest of Judah by Babylon, and the conquest of Babylon by Persia are the result of the expansionist policies of these rebellious nations. In fact, these nations would bow their back against the proclamation that they were God's "weapon of indignation."
Yet, as prideful as these nations are, each nation does only that which God allows them to do for His greater glory. ("They come from a far country, from the end of heaven—The LORD and His weapons of indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.") It is the ultimate "destruction from the Almighty " that we should fear, as we become cognizant of His "weapons of destruction" around us in the midst of His discipline.