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The Fall of Babylon (Isaiah 21:1~10)
1 An oracle concerning the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror.
2 A dire vision has been shown to me: The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot. Elam, attack! Media, lay siege! I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused.
3 At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see.
4 My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me.
5 They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields!
6 This is what the Lord says to me: "Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees.
7 When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert."
8 And the lookout shouted, "Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post.
9 Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: `Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!'"
10 O my people, crushed on the threshing floor, I tell you what I have heard from the LORD Almighty, from the God of Israel.
God’s Rule over the Most Powerful (21:1–5)
This passage is the seventh oracle in a series of eleven oracles that demonstrate God’s sovereign rule over even the most powerful of nations. The prophecy here depicts the impending fall of Babylon, the “Desert by the Sea.” Isaiah is shocked and troubled by the horrible vision of Babylon’s destruction. God will use Elam and Media to attack Babylon and return upon her the same devastation she has caused to the nations around her. Though it seems like an unthinkable fate for one of the most powerful nations at the time, God makes it clear that no earthly power can compare to the omnipotent and almighty Yahweh.
- Where do you look to for strength and hope? Do you trust that God is greater than all other earthly powers?
Watching for the Downfall of Babylon (21:6–10)
In ancient kingdoms, lookouts would be stationed on the city walls to keep an eye out for marauders and enemy armies. They are the first to see when trouble is coming. The LORD commands Isaiah to post a lookout on the city wall. This lookout sees a vision of a man in a chariot who announces that Babylon has fallen. This prophecy is a message of hope to the people of Israel who have been oppressed by this powerful enemy. The Babylonians are also guilty of committing detestable sins against God, such as idolatry, witchcraft, and temple prostitution. Though God will use Babylon to discipline His people (v. 10), they can rest assured that Babylon will also be judged for her sins in due time.
- How is the enemy targeting the members of your faith community? Pray that you would be a watchman who stands guard over your church against the attacks of the enemy.
A letter to God
Dear Lord, grant me spiritual eyes to see the advances of the enemy. Give me boldness to blow the trumpet when necessary. In the midst of turmoil, I trust not in worldly powers or riches but in You alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.