Isaiah - Lesson 15

Judgment of Babylon

This lesson is a continuation of the last lesson, digging deeper into the case against idols. The lesson underscores the ability of God to predict events and emphasizes His unique position as the only true deity, making the idols insignificant in comparison. It emphasizes the role of the people as witnesses, deriving parallels to Christian witnesses in contemporary times, suggesting that a true witness is someone who is available at all times to testify to the reality of God's existence and His role as the sole Savior. The lesson also discusses God's promise of deliverance and transformation, symbolized by turning a wasteland into a garden, and underscores God's ability to do new things that were previously unthinkable. Finally, the lesson delves into God's promise to pour His spirit on His people's offspring, reinforcing faith and obedience across generations. The key message of this lesson is that God is the Creator and Savior, the only true God, and our role as His witnesses is to testify to His reality and His power in our lives and in the world around us.

Lesson 15
Watching Now
Judgment of Babylon

OT650-15: Judgment of Babylon

I. Introduction and Historical Context

A. The Time of Isaiah

B. Babylon's Role in Old Testament History

II. Literary Examination of Isaiah's Prophecy

A. The Poetry and Symbolism of Isaiah

B. Specific Prophecies Concerning Babylon

1. The Fall of Babylon

2. The Aftermath of Babylon's Downfall

III. Theological Implications of Babylon's Judgment

A. God's Sovereignty and Justice

B. The Role of Prophetic Warnings

IV. Contemporary Lessons from Babylon's Judgment

A. Lessons for the Modern Believer

B. The Enduring Relevance of Isaiah's Prophecies

  • Through the in-depth study of Isaiah, you'll gain understanding of its purpose, authorship, key themes, structure, and its significant contributions to the Old Testament, shaping your comprehension of prophetic literature.
  • In studying this lesson, you gain an understanding of the concept of servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, exploring its societal, literary, theological, and personal implications.
  • In the lesson, you explore Isaiah's divine vision, understand his servanthood in a biblical and cultural context, and reflect on its contemporary relevance and implications for today's believers.
  • By exploring trust as the basis of servanthood in this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of biblical teachings, the role of Isaiah, and the practical implications for modern Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the significance of trusting Yahweh, the invisible God, in difficult times and the consequences of relying on human conspiracies and seeking guidance from mediums. By choosing to trust God and follow His light, you will find hope, experience His strength, wisdom, and peace.
  • This lesson, spanning chapters 13 to 35, delves into various aspects such as oracles against the nations, God's rule of history, Judah's situation, and the repercussions of placing trust in the nations.
  • In this lesson, you learn about trusting in God even in the midst of chaos and to not rely on worldly powers. By waiting expectantly and trusting in God's sovereignty, you can find peace and security amidst a turbulent world.
  • The lesson offers deep insights into trust from a biblical perspective, drawing on case studies from Isaiah and giving you practical applications for contemporary Christianity.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain insight into the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah chapters 13 through 35, emphasizing the contrast between human power and God's sovereignty and discussing the ultimate victory of God in eschatological literature.
  • This lesson highlights the theological impact of the exile and the questions it raises about God's promises and His power. It explores the issue of trust and warns against relying on worldly solutions, using the example of seeking help from Egypt. Isaiah challenges the people to wait for the Lord and defines trust as confident expectation.
  • In this lesson, the consequences of trusting in worldly powers like Egypt and Assyria are emphasized, highlighting their limitations compared to God's power. The lesson stresses the need for repentance, rest, and trust in God for salvation and strength. It calls for addressing the present condition of the people and the land rather than being complacent. The promise of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is mentioned, which will lead to transformation and the establishment of peace.
  • This lesson introduces Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, and his dire dilemma on whom to trust—God or humanity—in a situation rife with political and personal peril. By examining Hezekiah's predicament, you will grapple with the notion that trust is the foundation of servanthood to God. The concepts of power, authority, and faith are analyzed through the lens of Hezekiah's interactions with Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. Ultimately, this lesson presents a thought-provoking exploration of trust in divine power versus human power, faith in the midst of desperation, and the implications of such trust for leadership and servanthood.
  • You will delve into the unique prophetic style of Isaiah, understanding his future-oriented prophecies, and the challenges brought by the exiles. You will explore predictive prophecy and how God's transcendence enables accurate predictions. Further, you'll examine the book of Isaiah's authorship, its implications, and the context of Assyrian-Babylonian transition.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the themes of grace, servitude, and the promise of God's deliverance in chapters 40 to 55. You will understand the meaning behind the denunciation of idols and God's sovereignty, in addition to the assurance that even amidst fear, God is present and will aid His people.
  • This lesson analyzes the role of a witness, God's omnipotence and His role as the sole deity, His promise of deliverance and transformation, and the continuity of faith across generations through His spirit. The key message of this lesson is that God is the Creator and Savior, the only true God, and our role as His witnesses is to testify to His reality and His power in our lives and in the world around us.
  • In this lesson, you grasp the profound concept of God's grace, witnessing how He reclaims His chosen despite their sins. You delve into the biblical view of cause and effect, discovering God's principles at work. Moreover, you gain insights into the suffering servant, embodying true Israel, fulfilling what Israel couldn't. This figure vividly portrays divine calling, struggle, and unwavering trust in God. The lesson ends by revealing the promised restoration of Israel, instilling hope in God's unwavering promises.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the concept of grace, the anticipation of God's saving work, the revelation of His victory, and the transformative power of Jesus' servant hood.
  • Through this lesson, you'll explore the significant role of justice, righteousness, and servanthood in the Book of Isaiah, showcasing the transformative power of God's grace in redeeming and restoring His people.
  • In this lesson, you journey through spiritual growth, witnessing human virtues and flaws, Israel's struggles, and divine grace. The Divine Warrior transforms God's people into beacons, illuminating God's glory. Finally, the Warrior, as the Messiah, brings comfort, freedom, and beauty amid sorrow.
  • This lesson provides a detailed exploration of the struggles of God's people, their plea for God's intervention, and their accusation towards God for their hardships. It calls upon you to reflect on the human condition and our inherent need for divine intervention. Lastly, the lesson underscores the importance of a relationship with God, not merely seeking righteousness but seeking Him and His presence in one's life.

Diving into this course by Dr. John Oswalt, you will find yourself immersed in the study of the Book of Isaiah, particularly focusing on its purpose, authorship, major themes, structure, historical context, author, and time of writing. The major themes like redemption, restoration, and the holiness of God will be unraveled, along with an examination of the book's literary style and chapter breakdown. Additionally, you will gain insights into the concept of servanthood within the context of ancient Israel, exploring its historical, literary, and theological perspectives. Isaiah's vision and his divine calling to servanthood will be thoroughly discussed, revealing the challenges he faced in his role and the contemporary relevance of his servanthood. You will delve into the relationship between trust and servanthood, with trust being a prerequisite to becoming a servant, as demonstrated by Isaiah. The class culminates in providing you with the knowledge of the transformative potential of trust, its importance in the biblical narrative, and its role as a cornerstone for faith and community development. Lastly, you will understand the message of trust in Yahweh presented in Isaiah, learn about the contrast between trusting in human power and glory versus living by faith, and gain an understanding of the importance of trust and the dangers of relying on worldly solutions.

Recommended Books

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Growing out of the work that the author did in preparing two major commentaries on Isaiah, these essays range from comprehensive to specific, and from popular to scholarly....

The Holy One of Israel: Studies in the Book of Isaiah

Dr. John Oswalt



Judgment of Babylon

Lesson Transcript



We're looking at part two of part one, Part one being chapters 41 to 46, the Case against the Idols. We're looking now at the Section 4214 through 4422. My witnesses against the Idols 4214 to 4422. My witnesses against the Idols. And as I said, in some ways the most fully developed expression of this case we're getting to when we come to 40 388, lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. I think in the context this is referring to the people of Israel. Remember that in the end of Chapter 42 and beginning into Chapter 43, we had several references to the blindness and the deafness of God servants. So he says, okay, bring them out. And again, I think, do I want witnesses who are blind and deaf? God seems to. Another possibility, though, is that these are idols. And again, pretty frequently in the Bible, it will be pointed out that the idols have eyes but can't see. They have ears we can't hear. So. So I wouldn't put my neck on the block to say it must be the witnesses. But I think it is all the nations gathered together and the peoples assemble which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things. Again, here's this same line over again. Who can tell us what happened in the past and how that ties into what's going to happen in the future. Who can tell us where the world came from? Who can tell us where the world is going to go? Who has predicted something specifically in the past? And it has happened. Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they are right so that others may hear and say it's true.


You are. My witnesses, declares the Lord, my servant, whom I've chosen for what purpose? So that you may know and believe me and understand that I am. Here's I am here again. Hebrew Ani who? Why did I choose you? So that you could know and believe me and understand that I am. What a wonderful, wonderful thought. I even I am your way. And apart from me, there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed. I am not some foreign God among you. You are my witnesses, declares the Lord that I am God. Yes. And from ancient days I am. No one can deliver out of my hand when I act. Who can reverse it? Three times. You are my witnesses. You are my witnesses. This is awfully important, I think, as we think about our own lives. Were you aware that Jesus was quoting Isaiah when he said to his disciples, You are my witnesses? But I think sometimes we miss the flavor of what's being said here. Okay, folks, you are supposed to be Christian witnesses. What does that mean? It means you go out and grab somebody by the neck tie and say, Are you a Christian? No. What does a witness do in court? This is what I have seen. This is what I have heard. This is what happened. This is reality. Christian Witness means that you are available 24 seven for God to say, Hey, I need you. I need your experience to prove to an unbelieving world that I'm God. Hmm. Yeah. That's what it means to be on the witness stand at any moment. To demonstrate, to give evidence that our God is God and there is no other. He is the savior. He alone is the savior.


That's what he's saying. You are my witnesses. Then he goes on verse 14. This is what the Lord says again. You've heard me all the way through mixing up Lord and your way. And I suppose you're aware that every time you see Lord in small capitals, that's the divine name. Now, the problem is we don't know for sure how it was pronounced. And that's why most translators have been unwilling to put your way into the text. But. Lord conveys to us Master, boss, supervisor. He's your way. He's the I am. And so I like it whenever I think about it, to substitute Yahweh when I come to Lord, because that's what he's saying. The world needs to know that I am Yahweh. The world needs to know that I am the. I am I come. There is no other. So let's go back to verse 14. This is what Yahweh says. Your Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel. I mentioned to you, I probably in the very first lecture that in one day 39, Holy one of Israel is often the idea of the master, the one, the sovereign, the one who is in charge of things. In 4266, Holy one of Israel is regularly creator slash savior. Because he created the world. He can save us because he created the world. He can break into the world and transform us. If there is no creator, there is no transformation. You are locked in. All that salvation can be is self-realization. But if there is a creator, one who is outside the universe, he is able to break in and transform you. So the holy one of Israel in this part of the book is regular creator slash savior. For your sake, I'll send to Babylon and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians in the ships in which they took pride.


I am Yahweh, your holy one, Israel's creator, your king. Yes. Then this next section is so interesting, and it's in the light of the case that we've just seen. Verse 16, This is what the Lord says. He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together. And they lay there never to rise again. Extinguished. Snuffed out like a wick. What's he talking about? Well, the exodus. Made a path through the mighty waters. Drew out the chariots and the horses. But now look at the next verse. Forget the former things Don't dwell on the past. Wait a minute. God, You just reminded us of the former things and of the past. See, I am doing a new thing now. It springs up. Don't you perceive it? I'm making away in the wilderness. Streams in the wasteland. I think this is the third time in the book he has said that thing. I can turn the wasteland into a garden. Hmm. I can do something the gods can never do. I can do a new thing. Yes. Think of the Judeans. Wow. Wow. God has said he's going to deliver us from Babylon. How do you suppose he's going to do it? Well, one of our ladies will have a baby, and she will put him in a basket in the Euphrates and the basket will float down, and the princess of the Babylonians will find the baby. And God says, No, I've done that already. I want to do something new. I think this time I will deliver you through a pagan emperor who doesn't know my name. As we're going to see a few chapters later, the people are saying, God, you can't do that.


And God says, Why not? I've said to students over the years, God has a very low boredom threshold. He's a creator. He loves to do new things. The gods can not do new things. The sun is never going to rise in the West. But our God, the Creator can do new things. And it can turn your wasteland into a garden. So he goes on through the Chapter 43 and he he upgrades. That's an old word, but a pretty good one. He upgrades them because they're really not believing him to transform them. They really are not believing that he can do something new in their lives and in their culture. So we come to chapter 44. Now, listen, Jacob, my servant, is through whom I've chosen. This is what the Lord says. He who made you? Who formed you in the womb? Who will help you? Don't be afraid, Jacob. My servant gesture, whom I've chosen for. I will pour water on the thirsty land streams on the dry ground. I will pour out my spirit on your offspring, my blessing on your descendants. Fear not. Fear. Not for I'm with you. Fear not. For I will help you. Fear not. For I have redeemed you. Fear not. For I will pour out my spirit on your offspring. They will spring up like grass in the meadow. Some will say I belong to Yahweh. Others will call themselves by the name Jacob. Still, others will write on their hand. Yahweh is and will take the name of zero. I think I mentioned this in an earlier lecture. The people. Who had gone into exile. Were terrified. Their children were all going to become Babylonians. Their children were all going to be sucked into this alien culture and Israel would disappear.


And God says no. No. Not going to happen. I'm going to pour my spirit on your children. I'm going to pour my spirit on your descendants. And they will indeed carry on the faith. They will indeed be willing to live as aliens in this land. But as friends of God. Oh, good news. Good news. Sometimes we're troubled by Exodus. Chapter 32 versus the last part of verse six. God has said I'm gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, full of unfailing love pouring out, unfailing love to thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But visiting the sins of the fathers unto the children. For the third and the fourth generation, we say, Oh my goodness, what kind of a god is this? Who says, If you sin, I'm going to get your kids? That's not really what it's saying. What he's talking about is making a wrong decision from his earlier statement. Oh. Oh. He's gracious. He's compassionate. He's patient. He's loving. He forgives sin. Oh, good. I think I'll live like hell for about 80 years. And then I'll repent and God will forgive me. God says, Don't do it. Sin has consequences. Consequences that will carry over the generations. Not that I'm going to arbitrarily punish your children. But if you choose to be a drunk. It will affect. 1 to 3 generations. Don't presume on God's grace. Choose him now. Live for him now. And your children will not experience the consequences of your sin. I say that because what? Moses says in Deuteronomy when he quotes that passage. And he gives his love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. That's a special promise to me, because, I mean, as far as I can tell, a 10th generation Christian.


My ancestors loved Jesus. And I'm the beneficiary. That's what he's saying here. Now we all know. Some of the very best parents lose their children. God doesn't predetermine that. Good parents will absolutely have believing children. No, we can't. We can't do that. We can't say that we can't twist God's arm. But we can't believe him. And he says, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid. I'm going to give you believing, children. Yes. Jesus. Well, then here comes the case again. Chapter 44, verse six. This is what the Lord says Israel's King and Redeemer, Yahweh of Heaven's armies. I am the first and I am the last. Apart from me, there is no God. Who then is like me. Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay it out before me. What's happened since I established my ancient people? Verse eight, Don't tremble, Don't be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? Now, I don't think that's last year. Some people have responded to my argument on predictive prophecy and said, Boy, well, wait a minute. He just predicted Cyrus five years earlier. Maybe Cyrus wasn't quite on the stage yet. But but second, Isaiah, this anonymous prophet of the exile, he he predicted it four or five years earlier. Did I not proclaim it long ago? That's significant for me. It wasn't five years ago. It was 150 years ago. You're my witnesses. Is there any God beside me? No. There is no other rock. I know not one. How are you getting the point, folks? Is he coming across the Babylonian gods are not gods. They are not divine. They cannot do what only God can do. Then the rest of Chapter 44 is just dripping sarcasm. It is the strongest indictment of idolatry that you will find in the Bible.


He paints this picture of people who are carefully designing and building these idols, nailing them down so they won't fall down, encouraging one another. Yeah, you're doing good work. This is great, he says. You plant a tree. The tree grows, you cut the tree down. You take the log and cut it in half. Half of it. You split up for kindling and cook your supper. The other half you plate with gold, nail it down so it won't fall down and bow down to it and call it God. He says. Verse 18. They know nothing. They understand nothing. Their eyes are plastered over so they can't see their minds closed. So they can't understand. No one stops to think. No one has the knowledge or understanding to say half of it I used for fuel. I even bake bread over its coals. I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make an abomination from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood? Such a person feeds on ashes. A deluded heart misleads him. He cannot save himself or say. Is not this thing in my right and a lie? Again, just a comment about writing. He says he has. He has turned this half of the log into ashes to cook his food and now is worshiping the other half. He says what he's doing is he's eating ashes. That's good writing. So. That takes us to 4422, the end of the second part of this case against the idols. And we begin then with the third part. 4423 two 4519 Cyrus God's anointed. Now, again, as I said earlier, you'll find many different outlines of this section. If you look at different commentators, because it's not what you would call linear thought, it is repetition of these themes, these ideas over and over again.


So if I offer you these segments, I'm not saying, Oh yeah, this is it, this works. I'm simply trying to offer you some ways of grouping things that will help as we go through. So this section 4423 two 4519 I'm calling Cyrus God's anointed. Now he's going to become specific about who this is from the East that he's calling, who this is, who is terrifying the nations. He starts in verse 23 with a call to praise, sing for joy to heaven, for the Lord has done this shout aloud You earth beneath burst into song You mountains you for us all you trees For the Lord has redeemed Jacob He displays His glory Remember we've talked about glory all the way through here. He displays his glory in Israel. Yes. Yes. This is what the Lord says. Your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb. I am your way. We're beginning to get that point. The maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens. Who spreads out the earth by myself. Who foils the signs of false prophets? Makes for fools of diviners. Who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense. Who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers? Yeah. He makes fools of all those false prophets. Those diviners who look at the stars and say, This is going to happen. No. Who says of Jerusalem it shall be inhabited. Of the towns of Judea. They shall be rebuilt of their ruins. I will destroy them. Who says to the water a deep be dry and I will dry up your streams. Who says of Cyrus? He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please. He will save Jerusalem. Let it be rebuilt of the temple.


Let its foundations be laid. As I said, that's exactly what Cyrus did. Cyrus said you may go home. You may rebuild your city, you may rebuild your temple, and my treasury will help you do it. I'm saying to you, Isaiah said that 150 years before it happened. And I'm saying to you that it is part of the essential argument of the book. I am God because I can do that. No God, small G could ever do that. But I can. So he goes on then in chapter 45, talking about what he's going to do for Cyrus. And he makes the point that Cyrus does not know Yahweh is name. But yeah, I know Cyrus is name. And he says that I am going to do that. He says, I will do it verse six. So that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting, people may know there is none beside me. I am Yahweh. There is no other. I form light and create darkness. This is a verse that has caused a lot of heartburn for people over the years because the King James was quite direct. I bring good and create evil. Now, the Navy softens it a little bit, not incorrectly. I bring prosperity and create disaster. This is another example of what I talked to you about earlier, that the large pool of connotations that meaningful Hebrew words have so good. Can that refer to moral good? Yes, it can. Can it refer to good fortune? Yes, it can. Evil. Can it refer to the most vicious moral evil? Yes, it can. Can it refer to misfortune? Yes, it can. I have said. That probably the best English translation of the Hebrew word Ras is bad. It typically gets translated evil.


But bad in English has pretty much the same range. Hitler was a bad man. And I'm having a bad day. Oh, you're having a Hitler Day, huh? No, no, no. Things are just not going very well. These words that are typically translated good and evil have that kind of breadth. Why do I go into that here? I want to make the point that what is being said here is ultimately God is responsible for everything in this world. This is contrary to the unfortunate belief that many people, even Christians, have. Oh, the Lord is responsible for everything that is pleasant, that happens, and the devil is responsible for everything unpleasant. That's not monotheism. That's by theism. The Bible will never, never accept that there is one God. There's not a good God and a bad God. There is one God and everything that happens is ultimately his responsibility. Again, let me let me stay with you, and I hope you'll stay with me here. What's it saying? If there is trouble, misfortune, moral evil in the world. It exists because God, when he created the world, made space for that. Did God cause Hitler to be a bad man? I'm going to say no. Hitler chose. He chose to be a bad man, but he could only make that choice because the Creator, God, made a space for it. Presumably the Creator. God could have made us all robots and we wouldn't have the choice to rebel against him. We wouldn't have the choice to do what is wrong. So this verse is trying to make that point. No God didn't make. Joseph's brothers hate him. But the wonderful thing is, since God made a space for them to make that kind of a choice, God is able to take those bad choices and use them to accomplish good, as He did in the life of Joseph and of Jacob's family.


That's our God. There's nothing outside of his control. He's not there wringing his hands and saying, Oh, Satan, No, no, don't do that. Oh, what are we going to do now? Oh, my. No. Now Satan may rail on rage and God laughs. God is the creator of all things. Now, if we had a lot of time, you might like to ask some questions about that. But the point is, the point that the Bible is making is there is one God and everything that exists is finally his responsibility. What follows then is this question. Well. God, you can't do that. Verse nine. Alas, for those who quarrel with their maker, those who are nothing but patriots among the patriots on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, What are you making? Does the work say the potter has no hands? Alas, for the one who says to a father, What have you begotten? Or to a mother? What have you brought to birth? It's pretty clear that. Isaiah is addressing the unspoken question How can you do that? You can't use a pagan emperor to save your people. And God says, Why not? And that's what's being dealt with here. I can do this. I can use Cyrus. I can bless Cyrus. I can do what I want. I'm God. Remember, there isn't any other God. I met. Verse 15, then truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced. They'll go into disgrace together, but Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation. You'll never be put to shame or disgrace to ages everlasting. Okay. Okay. Lord, Lord, we. We accept that this is what you are.


We sure didn't figure that out earlier. But anyway, the Lord says He who created the heavens, He is God, He who fashioned and made the earth. He founded it. He didn't create it to be a wasteland, but formed it to be inhabited. He says, I am your way. There is no other. I have not spoken in secret from somewhere in a land of darkness. I have not said to Jacob's descendants, Seek me in vain. I, the Lord, speak the truth. I declare what is right. I think he's saying, No, no, no, no, no. This hasn't been hidden. If you didn't see it, you didn't see it because you were blind. No. I have been perfectly transparent in my revelation of myself from the beginning. And if you didn't see it, you should have. Then we have the final expression of the case in verse 20 of chapter 45. Gather together and come assemble you fugitives from the nations ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to God sort that cannot save declare what is to be presented. Let them take counsel together who foretold this long ago? Who declared it from the distant past, was it not I our way? There is no God apart from me. It's about the sixth time that He said that. A righteous God and a savior. There is none but me. Hmm. Praises. Name. Praises Name. He has not hidden himself from us. He has revealed himself. He alone is God. Then there is a beautiful picture. He says. That Chapter 46. The gods are being carried off. Belle and Nebo. They're being born by birth. Beasts of Burden. They're heavy. They stoop the poor oxen. The people carrying these idols. It's a picture of Babylon's destruction.


Here they go. They're carrying the idols off. Verse three. Listen to me. You descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel. You whom I have carried since your birth. And if carried since you were born, even to your old age and gray hairs. I am, I am. Who will sustain you? I have made you. And I will carry you. I will sustain you and rescue you. Mm hmm. We have a choice, friends. We can carry the gods we have made. And they are a heavy, heavy burden. The God of success. The goddess of pleasure. The God of wealth. The God of achievement. Heavy burdens. Heavy burdens. And they grow heavier as we grow older. Or. Or. We can be carried by him. He says, I carried you from the day you were born. And from the rest of Scripture. We can say from the day you were conceived, I carried you. And I'll carry you throughout your life until when you're old. I'll carry you. That's our choice. Are we going to carry or are we going to be carried? And so in powerful ways, we wind up this case against the idols in the end of Chapter 46. We don't really have the time to go through it, but I challenge you, read it, read it to yourself, read it out loud. With whom will you compare me or be equal? To whom will you like and me? That we may be compared? So fourth verse eight. Remember this. Keep in mind, take it to heart. You rebels remember the former things, those of long ago. I am God and there is no other. I am God, there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times.


What? Still to come. I'm God. So the case has been made. You don't need to be a hero to be afraid of the idols. You don't need to be afraid of what they might be able to do to you. I'm God. I can deliver you. I can take you home. Though nobody in the history of exile has ever gone home. I can take you home. And I plan to. I will. They are not God. I am. That brings us to the verdict. The verdict is in chapters 47 and 48. Chapter 47 is addressed to Babylon 48 to Israel. What's the conclusion that we ought to draw in the light of this reiterated case against the idols? 47 one. Go down. Sit in the dust. Virgin daughter babbling, Sit on the ground without a throne. Queen City of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender and delicate. Take millstones grind flour. Take off your veils. Lift up your skirts. Bare your legs. Wait in the streams. Your nakedness will be exposed. Your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance. I will spare no one. Our redeemer. Your way of heavens armies is his name is the Holy one of Israel? Yes. Yes. You have made yourself a queen. Come down. Sit in the water. Grind flour. Sit in the dust. Your gods have failed you. Now, why should that judgment come upon Babylon? Look at verse eight. Listen. Lover of pleasure lounging in your security, saying to yourself, I am. And there is none beside me. Hmm. And once is not enough. Later in the chapter, she says it again, verse ten. You have trusted in your wickedness and have said no one sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge have misled you. When you say to yourself, I am and there is none beside me.


You can't say that and get away with it because it's not true. It is not true. And I look at our culture and I see. US in our individualism saying those very things. I am. And there's nobody else. I decide what's right for me. I decide who I am. I decide what I am. I am. And there's no one else. And God says. Do that. And you choose to drive your car into a brick wall. You can't survive. Again, not because an evil tyrant says, You can't do that to me. I am. You aren't. No, no. God with a broken heart says you're not made that way. You were not made that way. You were made to be dependent. You were made to find your life in a living relationship with your creator. Choose something else. And you've chosen destruction. And that is the choice Babylon is made. Let me call one other thing to your attention here. In that verse ten. Your wisdom and your knowledge have misled you. And then in verse 12, keep on. Then with your magic spells and with your many sorcerers with which you have labored since childhood. The Babylonians were brilliant people. There's no question that. But because their brilliance was used in the wrong direction, it not only was useless, it was deadly. In Babylon. The Omen texts. Our 70 volumes. 70 volumes of Roman text. Now, let me remind you what is an omen. An omen is a sign that tells you supposedly what's going to happen. Ah, Ah. The stars are in this position today. Tomorrow will be a good day. It's amazing. I think it's still true. I haven't seen it recently, but. Only a couple of years ago, I saw that the most popular section of the newspaper in the United States is the horoscope.


Madness. The shape of the stars have nothing to do with what's going to happen tomorrow. The Romans were into birds. Six black birds flying south. Ah ha. Stay in bed. It's going to be a bad day. Now you see, if you're going to figure all that out, you got to be very bright. I mean, if you're going to be an omen priest and the king says to you, okay, I think I'm going to go to war tomorrow. Is that a good idea or not? You got to figure out which omen to check on and what that omen may mean under these circumstances. And it's fascinating. You can basically get an omen for whatever you want. You just have to know where to look. If you think, yeah, yeah, probably if he goes to war tomorrow, he's going to be successful. Okay, let's find an omen that says or O brother, he's smoking something. If he goes to war, he's going to get killed. Let's find an omen. So, 70 volumes. Your wisdom and knowledge have led you astray. How many times can we reproduce that statement in human culture? So he says, in the light of this case. BABYLON Get down off your throne. Then what does he say to Israel? And it's fascinating. In this 48th chapter, Words for listening occur. By my count, a dozen times. Listen. Listen to this. You descendants of Jacob, you who are called by the name Israel, who come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel, though not in truth or righteousness. You who call yourselves citizens of the Holy city and claim to rely on the God of Israel. Yahweh, of Heaven's armies is His name.


I foretold the former things long ago. My mouth announced them and I made them known. Listen to me. Listen to me. Don't settle down in Babylon. Babylon's fate is clear. Don't settle down in Babylon. Don't become a Babylonian. Don't settle down in America. Don't become an American. Now, hear me. I am a patriot. I fly the flag whenever I get the chance. I love America. I regularly thank God that I had the privilege of being born in America. But America. Is not God. And America if it persists. In following the way of its wealth and its wisdom is headed for disaster. The old spiritual. This world is not my home. I'm just passing through. Yes. Oh, Christian. Don't become acculturated to. To this culture or any other human culture. Let your culture be the culture of God. And God says, Listen to me, listen to me. And so the chapter closes then. Again, a great chapter. Leave Babylon. Flee from the Babylonians announced 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. They did not thirst when he led them through the desert. He made water flow for them. From the Rocky split. The rock and the water gushed out. There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked. Listen to me. Get ready. Be ready. The hour is coming when you will leave Babylon. Before I let you go, let me say again. Nobody had ever gone home from captivity. You didn't go home. The whole purpose of captivity was to absorb you into the culture, to wipe out your distinctive culture. So this is crazy. God says, Listen to me. You're going to be in that.


Captivity. For. 45 years. A generation, generation and a half. Don't become Babylonians. Remain as the people of God so that on the day. When the Herald comes through and says, The emperor says you can go home. You're ready to go. Jesus is saying much the same thing. I'm going to come like a thief in the night. Are you going to be ready when I come? Will I find faith on the earth when I return? What does it mean to be separate from the world? To be in the world, but not of it? In a real sense, that's the issue that the Judeans were facing. What did it mean to be in Babylon, but not a Babylonian? That's the challenge for all of us. Be ready. Be ready.