Judgment of Tyre

“Pride is so subtle that if we aren’t careful we’ll be proud of our humility. When this happens our goodness becomes badness. Our virtues become vices. We can easily become like the Sunday School teacher who, having told the story of the Pharis … More

Pride

In this chapter the prophet extends his message to Tyre, which is Israel’s neighboring nation to the northeastern Mediterranean coastal kingdom (v. 1). Ships making their way eastward from Tarshish (probably in Spain) would stop in Cyprus before going on to Tyre and Sidon which were key cities in the known world of that day and whose merchants were made wealthy through trading (vv. 2-4). Egypt trembled when it heard about Tyre (vv. 5-6), which was known as the happy city that had spread to distant lands (v. 7) and its merchants were honored all over the known world (v. 8).

The prophet next turns to the people of the nearest Phoenician colony, Cyprus. He points to the contrast between Tyre’s past gaiety and wide-flung colonization to its current humbling under the mighty hand of God (vv. 9-10). The pride of Tyre was a sin that God could not ignore. The implication of this passage is that the fall of Tyre would mean the ruin of the commercial trading ventures of Cypress (vv. 11-12) and Western Europe. Neither Tyre or Cypress, across the sea, could be regarded as a haven of safety when Assyria, the instrument of God’s wrath (Isa. 10:5-11), was on the rampage (vv. 13-14). The city of Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years (vv. 15-16). At the end of those 70 years, the Lord will let Tyre get back into business (vv. 17-18). Some of the lessons that Isaiah teaches us from this portion of scripture is: (1) God controls all of the nations of the world and does with them what He pleases. (2) God especially hates the sin of pride. (3) God judges the nations for the way they treat each other.

Application

No matter how frightening the national or international situation may become, because I know that I am one of God’s children, I can have peace because God is on the throne.

Isaiah 23:1-18 (English Standard Version)


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