If you’re in the Digging Deep study (or if you just want to get your cocoa and join us for a spiritual break), Nugget Night is next Tuesday at 7 Central on The Colley House. I think I’ve learned more, even with my limited study time this month, from the Isaiah study than from any one thus far this year. If you can’t join us live (I am aware it’s Lads to Leaders crunch time!) then be sure to listen later. Pray for our study. Pray for the podcast. Pray for souls in heaven as a result. We are very happy to welcome PJ Charnock and Edy Cozort to the team of administrators. They are both full of talent, spirit and Bible knowledge and we are grateful for their expertise.
Now, as you know, chapters 1-4 in Isaiah are primarily about the depths of degradation and despair to which Judah, the smaller, but more faithful kingdom, has fallen as a result of forsaking the Lord and turning to idolatry. Chapter 5 has the parable of the vineyard. Chapter 6 is Isaiah’s call to prophesy and chapters 7-10 are Isaiah’s comfort to Ahaz. Chapter 11 contains the Messianic prophecy about the branch of David and chapter 12 is an outpouring of Thanksgiving.
…Which brings us to the ten burdens of chapters 13-23; ten places upon which God, through the prophet, pronounced his wrath. This is the part of the study upon which I want to focus this morning. Every jot and tittle of every detail of every prophecy about every one of these ten places occurred exactly as prophesied. Can you list these ten places upon which God pronounced His burden (his impending punishment)?
Specifically, let’s focus on Babylon. Among other things, this is what chapter 13 says will become of this once pompous city (vs.19-22):
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans,will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.
It will never be inhabited or lived in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there; no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there.
But wild animals will lie down there,and their houses will be full of howling creatures;there ostriches will dwell,and there wild goats will dance.
Hyenas will cry in its towers,and jackals in the pleasant palaces;its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged.
It will never again be inhabited? For real? Was God serious in the finality of His destruction of this wicked place? Has he really been diligent in the keeping of that sworn plague throughout all the hundreds of years and scores of generations that have ensued since those words left the lips of the mighty Isaiah?
Get it from Wikipedia:
All that remains of the original ancient famed city of Babylon today is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (en.wikipedia.org/ Babylon).
Does God mean what he says? Does He get it right every single time? It’s interesting to note who the last person to try and build something pompous on the mounds of Babylon was. Who tried to build a city on those hills that had been cursed by God about 3000 years previously? None other than Saddam Hussein. From the same article in Wikipedia:
In 1983, Saddam Hussein started rebuilding the city on top of the old ruins (because of this, artifacts and other finds may well be under the city by now), investing in both restoration and new construction. He inscribed his name on many of the bricks in imitation of Nebuchadnezzar. One frequent inscription reads: “This was built by Saddam Hussein, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq”.
He thought he was big enough. He thought he was powerful enough. He thought he was wealthy enough. (He WAS a son of Nebuchadnezzar! [Daniel 4:30-34–Go read it…. There are really lots of similarities between this man and Saddam!]) But he forgot to read Isaiah 13 when he was picking out his place of glory for Iraq. You know what happened to his project? Again from the article:
When the Gulf War ended, Saddam wanted to build a modern palace, also over some old ruins; it was made in the pyramidal style of a Sumerian ziggurat. He named it Saddam Hill. In 2003, he was ready to begin the construction of a cable car line over Babylon when the invasion began and halted the project.
His cable car line didn’t pan out so well. Saddam Hill is now just one of the mounds among the ruins. There is no pyramidal palace on the hill. Saddam, in all of his planning, just failed to consult the Real Estate Planner that could have saved him millions of dollars and lots of architectural angst. He was reading from the wrong book!
And get this: The UN has some plans to use some international tax dollars to invest in the hill at Babylon, too. A culture center. Here’s the quote, again from Wikipedia:
An article published in April 2006 states that UN officials and Iraqi leaders have plans for restoring Babylon, making it into a cultural center.
Would it surprise you if I told you that this very powerful international group of delegates to the United Nations will absolutely never succeed in opening a center for culture on this Arab hill? How much brain power, how many dollars, and how much time, that we could be using on real progress, will be expended in the attempt? It boggles the faithful brain. One thing I do know. I will stick with the Book.
But it really doesn’t matter so much to me what happens to Babylon today. The New Testament is replete with prophecies that directly apply to me, though. Are these prophecies that have come through the pens of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, James and Jude just as viable…just as sure as the words of Isaiah? You can count on them. You can mark them down. You will be there and you will be a witness to the validity of God’s Word every single time.
Here’s just one of those prophecies. I’m counting on it because it’s a happening thing. I’m not putting my money, my brainpower, my time, my future, or the futures of my kids in a “hill of Babylon” that God has said will be destroyed. I trust Him and I’m living my life for Zion, the hill of God where the saved will praise Him forever for His faithfulness.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Peter 3:9-12).
p.s. If you go to “Saddam Hill” today, do you think you might hear some hyenas howling? wild goats?