Isaiah 47-48

is47.jpgGreetings! 

The fall of Babylon was predicted 150 years ahead of time.  It hadn’t even emerged as the strongest force on earth yet.  God used Babylon to punish his people, then used the Medo-Persian empire to destroy Babylon and set free his people.

Nebuchadnezzar’s ups and downs are chronicled in more detail in the Book of Daniel. 

The Fall of Babylon

47     “Go down, sit in the dust,

Virgin Daughter of Babylon;

sit on the ground without a throne,

Daughter of the Babylonians.

No more will you be called

tender or delicate.

2 Take millstones and grind flour;

take off your veil.

Lift up your skirts, bare your legs,

and wade through the streams.

3 Your nakedness will be exposed

and your shame uncovered.

I will take vengeance;

I will spare no one.”

4 Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name—

is the Holy One of Israel.

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.

10 You have trusted in your wickedness

and have said, ‘No one sees me.’

Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you

when you say to yourself,

‘I am, and there is none besides me.’

11 Disaster will come upon you,

and you will not know how to conjure it away.

A calamity will fall upon you

that you cannot ward off with a ransom;

a catastrophe you cannot foresee

will suddenly come upon you.

12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells

and with your many sorceries,

which you have labored at since childhood.

Perhaps you will succeed,

perhaps you will cause terror.

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.

15 That is all they can do for you—

these you have labored with

and trafficked with since childhood.

Each of them goes on in his error;

there is not one that can save you.

Stubborn Israel

48     “Listen to this, O house of Jacob,

you who are called by the name of Israel

and come from the line of Judah,

you who take oaths in the name of the Lord

and invoke the God of Israel—

but not in truth or righteousness—

2 you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city

and rely on the God of Israel—

the Lord Almighty is his name:

3 I foretold the former things long ago,

my mouth announced them and I made them known;

then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

4 For I knew how stubborn you were;

the sinews of your neck were iron,

your forehead was bronze.

5 Therefore I told you these things long ago;

before they happened I announced them to you

so that you could not say,

‘My idols did them;

my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’

6 You have heard these things; look at them all.

Will you not admit them?

“From now on I will tell you of new things,

of hidden things unknown to you.

7 They are created now, and not long ago;

you have not heard of them before today.

So you cannot say,

‘Yes, I knew of them.’

8 You have neither heard nor understood;

from of old your ear has not been open.

Well do I know how treacherous you are;

you were called a rebel from birth.

9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;

for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,

so as not to cut you off.

God didn’t have to save Israel, He did it because He wanted to.  We have done nothing deserving of salvation; it is purely by God’s grace that He saves us.

10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver;

I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.

How can I let myself be defamed?

I will not yield my glory to another.

Israel Freed

12 “Listen to me, O Jacob,

Israel, whom I have called:

I am he;

I am the first and I am the last.

13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,

and my right hand spread out the heavens;

when I summon them,

they all stand up together.

Verse 13 is important to show how Jesus is God.  The New Testament shows how Jesus is the creator (Colossians 1, John 1), and this passage shows that God is the creator. 

14 “Come together, all of you, and listen:

Which of the idols has foretold these things?

The Lord’s chosen ally

will carry out his purpose against Babylon;

his arm will be against the Babylonians.

Choosing Cyrus, a pagan King, as God’s ally must have shocked the Israelites. 

15 I, even I, have spoken;

yes, I have called him.

I will bring him,

and he will succeed in his mission.

16 “Come near me and listen to this:

“From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret;

at the time it happens, I am there.”

And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me,

with his Spirit.

17 This is what the Lord says—

your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“I am the Lord your God,

who teaches you what is best for you,

who directs you in the way you should go.

18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,

your peace would have been like a river,

your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,

your children like its numberless grains;

their name would never be cut off

nor destroyed from before me.”

20 Leave Babylon,

flee from the Babylonians!

Announce this with shouts of joy

and proclaim it.

Send it out to the ends of the earth;

say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.”

21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;

he made water flow for them from the rock;

he split the rock

and water gushed out.

22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

God shows ahead of time that while punishment is coming, so is ultimate deliverance and redemption.  Praise God for that!

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