"For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light. The sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity. I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir." - Isaiah 13:10-12
Around 700 bc, Isaiah writes of Babylon and the punishment she will receive because of her evil, wickedness, arrogance, pride, and ruthlessness. Yahweh himself will carry out this judgment. Babylon has exalted herself above the nations, but Yahweh will cut her down. At that time, strange things will happen in the sky. Sun, moon, and stars will go dark. Babylon was overrun by the Persians in 539 bc. But this prophecy seems to go beyond that event to the end of history.
The destruction of Babylon is similar to the destruction of almost all mankind at the Flood (Genesis 7), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), and the destruction of the Canaanites (Joshua). Her sin, arrogance, and pride is so great, Yahweh must act in a strong, decisive manner to bring about justice and rest for his people.
Judgment is not an easy subject to talk about, but it is an important and crucial part of the biblical story. The Bible calls a spade a spade. We need to deal with what God says here. We need to examine our own hearts to look for any evil, wickedness, pomp, arrogance, pride, or ruthlessness.
We tend to view ourselves in the best possible light, but actually we are sinners capable of great evil. I am reading The Lucifer Effect at the moment, which shows how evil any of us can become under certain circumstances. The 20th century was the most brutal century in history. Much of the brutality was carried out by everyday people just like us.
We need God. We also need his judgment and accountability. If left to ourselves, history shows we will destroy ourselves.
Father, help us as a human race to maintain humility. May we express to you our need for your help. May we seek you and humble ourselves to your ways. Thank you that you are holy, righteous, and just. Thank you that your love is not in competition with your justice. You are both just and loving, as proved by the cross of your Son.
Father, may we turn from pride to humility today. Amen.
- Jeff Coleman