December 19 in Advent

(If this day is the Fourth Sunday in Advent, please refer to that day

in the list of devotions.)

Isaiah 47:1-15

The Not-Sovereignty of Babylon

Yes, I know the title of today’s devotion hardly rolls off the tongue, but it expresses the contrast to the theme of the last two days which was God’s sovereignty or rule/dominion over the world.  The miraculous thing here is that Isaiah is prophesying the fall of Babylon even before its rise which was still one-hundred fifty plus years from Isaiah’s time.  At any rate, the Lord reveals to Isaiah the pride of ancient Babylon and the judgment He would pour out upon her.  We have seen this prophesied numerous times before in other passages of Scripture – a dominant world power is to be ground to the dust – and history reveals that ancient Babylon eventually was.

But in this passage, it seems that Babylon’s pride and claim to be God is what is highlighted and judged.  Isaiah prophesies: “Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children.’”  But then comes the word, “These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure.”  Again, “You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, ‘No one sees me’: your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away.”  Then the Lord taunts Babylon, “Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries … perhaps you may be able to succeed … You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you.”

Ecclesiastes 7:29 tells us “See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”  Earthly knowledge and wisdom, power, enchantments – they all come to naught before Almighty God.  Babylon was merely a tool in God’s hands to chasten his people.  And naturally as power-hungry and vicious men, they showed no mercy, even on the aged.  They conquered and destroyed as the empires of this world are ever doing.  But they do not know that God, Himself, has “determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God” (Acts 17:26-27; emphasis added).  But they don’t.  Nevertheless, the hardness of men’s hearts and blindness of men’s eyes do not nullify God’s sovereign will.  Babylon was not sovereign; Rome was not sovereign; the United States is not sovereign; and, most important, I am not sovereign.  For that, I am grateful.  Let us rejoice this Advent season that we wait for the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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