5 The coastlands have seen and are afraid;
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
6 Everyone helps his neighbor
and says to his brother, "Be strong!"
7 The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, "It is good";
and they strengthen it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
Journal: God's sovereign will is on display here. He has just proclaimed the coming fall of Babylon [Isaiah 41:2 -- "Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step? He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow."] Babylon is one of the greatest powers the world will ever see, and its fall is unthinkable. And yet it happens. In fact, history tells us that the great Babylon fell to Persia [the "one from the east"] without a fight. Man's power is quite small when contrasted to God's sovereign will.
The proper response to this proclamation is humility and repentance. That is, men should fall on their knees when faced with the awesome power of their creator. Yet, the nations of the world are not prone to turn to God. Here, they turn to each other [v. 6 -- "Everyone helps his neighbor and says to his brother, 'Be strong!'"] and to their created gods [v. 7a -- "The craftsman strengthens the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer him who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, "It is good" . . ."]
I have noticed that men tend to be repelled when God reveals Himself as large and authoritative, and thus necessarily revealing men as small and subordinate. We desire to be the driving influence in our mind and in our heart, and our insubordinate power grab emanates from our natural propensity toward sin. Yet, through it all, Christ surveyed the hearts of His brothers and sisters and deemed us worthy of His sacrificial atonement. This act of love, put in its proper light, makes our idolatry ever the more foolish and insane.
Heard 'Round the House:
Alex [age 12] has had a bit of Yogi Berra in him from the time he learned English at the age of three [he was adopted from Russia as a three year old]. You never know what that boy might say, and it sometimes isn't quite what he meant. The delegation of responsibility hasn't always been a smooth thing either, as that must be earned around here. He sometimes gets frustrated that Luke [also age 12, but four months younger] has earned a bit more in the responsibility arena and resulting rights and privileges. Recently, Alex and Luke have been allowed to "babysit" for short stints during the daylight hours. Alex is very excited about this. However, he obviously is wondering if he would be granted such power if he were flying solo. This led to the following question yesterday for Jill --
Alex: Mom, if I were an only child, would I still get to babysit?