There are a handful of themes that pervade the whole of the Bible. You may have a few more, but here’s my short list of those themes that can be seen from beginning to end:
• God’s Glory
• God’s Sovereignty
• God’s Presence
• God’s Power
• God’s Grace
• God’s Mercy
Isaiah 13, though, highlights another that cannot be missed: God’s justice. The Lord’s patience was running thin on Assyria & Babylon. Why are these two places mentioned? Well, Assyria was a specific nation that was in power in those days, and it was heartily against God and the people of Israel. Babylon, in this passage, represents something bigger. Most Hebrew scholars contend that Babylon is a picture of global depravity and evil. Here’s what the commentators of the New Living Study Bible say about this -— I found this especially helpful:
At the time of this prophecy, Assyria was the major power. Isaiah anticipated the rise of Babylon as an even crueler kingdom that would destroy Judah and Jerusalem (39:6-7; chs 46–47). The universal language of 13:1–14:23 suggests that in this context, Babylon represents all wicked and arrogant nations in the same way that “Babylon the Great” does in the book of Revelation (Rev 18). Therefore, while this description of Babylon’s fall applies to the fall of historic Babylon in 539 BC, it also applies until the final judgment against the ultimate kingdom of evil (Rev 19).
What can we learn from today’s passage? How do we apply this harsh text? Here’s a couple of thoughts, and we’d love to hear yours in the comments section below.
1) God’s justice is real and timely. While we may want a faster timetable, God will carry out His will at the perfect time. All of the oppressed — the weak, the poor, the destitute, the aborted baby, the mistreated slave, the victim of ISIS, the orphan, the persecuted — will have a voice. His name is Jesus, and His perfect plan will see to their defense.
2) Any reign of evil will come to an end. I encourage you to read Revelation 20 & 21. It highlights this sufficiently.
3) The Lord is seeking soldiers for His army. We get to be a part of God’s plan to triumph over evil. I’m not sure if there is anything cooler than that. Will you hear the Captain’s call and get on His team? It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it. That’s why Paul could tell Timothy, “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
4) Will you and I wave the flag? Be bold for the King. Rise up and be the blood-bought Church that stands for truth and dissects lies. Arm yourselves for battle (Ephesians 6) and get prepared (1 Peter 3:15). “Raise a signal flag on a bare hilltop. Call up an army against Babylon. Wave your hand to encourage them as they march into the palaces of the high and mighty.” (Isaiah 13:2)
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor