Babylon Will be Punished

Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will not be judged by how much I have done but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all until he has given all. No man gives anything acceptable to God until he has first given himself in love and sacrifice. (A. W. … More

Judgment

This passage starts off expressing Isaiah’s “burden of Babylon” (v. 1). The prophet was carrying a heavy weight because of the solemn nature of his message. He was announcing judgments that would involve the destruction of many cities and the slaughter of thousands of people. No wonder he felt burdened. The army referred to in these verses is clearly God’s because He said He summoned His warriors to carry out His wrath against Babylon; that is, they would do His bidding (vv. 2-5). This army was a great multitude of entire nations. Coming for war they would assemble from faraway lands, though Isaiah was writing about the military strife in his day, a similar mustering of vast armies will occur just before the millennial kingdom (Rev. 16:12-16).

The “Day of the Lord” refers to the time of the Lord’s judgment on this wicked world and deliverance of His people (vv. 6-13). In Isaiah’s day that judgment was coming because of the tremendous political turmoil of the next several decades that would culminate with the fall of Babylon to the Assyrians. That political turmoil was similar to the judgment which will come on the whole world just before God establishes His millennial kingdom on the earth.

The people attacked would be utterly powerless to stop the invasion. They would be like antelope and sheep, defenseless creatures that are easy prey for hunters (vv. 14-16). People within the Assyrian Empire from other countries would try to escape the coming destruction (they will flee to their native lands). Terrible things would happen, including death by the sword (v. 15), infanticide, plundering, and rape (v. 16). The destruction would be unrelenting in that the invaders would not be dissuaded by money and they will have no mercy on babies (v. 16).

Application

This passage says that God uses the wrath of men against each other to bring about His purposes. I need to praise Him for what he is doing and not fret about the things I think He should be doing.

Isaiah 13:1-16 (English Standard Version)

The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. On a bare hill raise a signal; cry aloud to them; wave the hand for them to enter the gates of the nobles. I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones. The sound of a tumult is on the mountains as of a great multitude! The sound of an uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together! The LORD of hosts is mustering a host for battle. They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the LORD and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger. And like a hunted gazelle, or like sheep with none to gather them, each will turn to his own people, and each will flee to his own land. Whoever is found will be thrust through, and whoever is caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.

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