Monday, March 10, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 47

Chapter 47 of Isaiah takes on an interesting tone as Isaiah appears to be openly mocking Babylon for what is to come. I find this interesting because it is not usually God's style to be mocking. We have seen numerous times throughout the New Testament that God is ultimately merciful. He does not delight in punishing people. Still, He is a God of discipline as we know from Isaiah here. While he does not delight in causing pain, in His mercy he will use His hand of correction in order to guide us when we lose our way.

We see part of that in this chapter. God is certainly not a fan of those that are prideful, and at the time Babylon was one of the most proud nations on earth. They felt they were invincible, and Isaiah uses the comparison to a virgin daughter to show this. Here we see this virgin daughter as a pampered princess in a palace that always gets her way. This can also be seen if you turn on MTV and watch My Super Sweet 16, but we're not going to get into that today. The leaders of Babylon were proud of their accomplishments, but that pride would be their downfall.

 5 "Sit in silence, go into darkness,
       Daughter of the Babylonians;
       no more will you be called
       queen of kingdoms.

 6 I was angry with my people
       and desecrated my inheritance;
       I gave them into your hand,
       and you showed them no mercy.
       Even on the aged
       you laid a very heavy yoke.

 7 You said, 'I will continue forever—
       the eternal queen!'
       But you did not consider these things
       or reflect on what might happen.

 8 "Now then, listen, you wanton creature,
       lounging in your security
       and saying to yourself,
       'I am, and there is none besides me.
       I will never be a widow
       or suffer the loss of children.'

 9 Both of these will overtake you
       in a moment, on a single day:
       loss of children and widowhood.
       They will come upon you in full measure,
       in spite of your many sorceries
       and all your potent spells. – Isaiah 47:5-9

These five verses illustrate both God's mercy through discipline and His desire for justice. His desire for justice comes from the fact that Babylon never recognized him, and in fact had openly flaunted His authority. Still, God's mercy through discipline comes through because God used the nation of Babylon to discipline Israel. Unlike Babylon, Israel recognized God's power at one time and had turned away from Him. God was angry with Israel for turning away from Him, but He still loved them.

13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!
       Let your astrologers come forward,
       those stargazers who make predictions month by month,
       let them save you from what is coming upon you.

 14 Surely they are like stubble;
       the fire will burn them up.
       They cannot even save themselves
       from the power of the flame.
       Here are no coals to warm anyone;
       here is no fire to sit by. – Isaiah 47:13-14

I found these couple of verses interesting because of how they deal with astrology. Personally, I don't understand how any sane, thinking person can believe that looking at stars will tell the future. The heavens are a wondrous creation, and when I look at the stars on a clear night I marvel at God's power to create and control something so vast. The fact he can make everything dance in such harmony in the midst of chaos is incredible. Still, there is little meaning other than that behind them.


  1. Are there times when you doubt God's love?
  2. Could God have disciplined Israel in other ways that would have been as effective?
  3. What are your thoughts on Astrology?

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