Reading through the Bible together

Saturday, April 12, 2014

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We have seen a crescendo building up since Isaiah 40. Judah is in a time of great distress and uncertainty; the nation must wait upon the Lord (Isa. 40). Cyrus will one day liberate God’s distressed people (Isa 41). He is a type of the Messiah to come, our mighty deliverer from sin! (Isa 42). The medicine for Israel’s sickness includes captivity in Babylon (Isa. 43). God will pour His Spirit upon His children! They need not trust these man-made idols (Isa. 44). God has promised to act through Cyrus; remember that He has made all things! (Isa. 45). The gods of the Babylonians will be carried out in defeat while God’s people are carried by the Lord (Isa. 46).

Finally, Isaiah 47 describes the fall of Babylon. The “virgin daughter” of Babylon (pagan temple prostitutes were often called “sacred virgins”) would come down and finally end up sitting in the dust (v.1). If this chapter sounds familiar, it is because so much of it—phrases, words, bits and pieces—show up in the Book of Revelation. Isaiah and Jeremiah speak of historical Babylon, while Revelation refers to Babylon, at the time of the end.

Babylon had “lived deliciously” (Rev 18:7), but now she will “no longer be called tender and delicate” (Isa. 47:1). She boasted no widowhood or the loss of children (vv.5, 7; Rev 18:7), but God would make her desolate (v.11).  And He would do this suddenly, “in a moment, in one day” (v.9), in fact, “in one hour” (Rev 18:8, 10, 17, 19).

One of the most intriguing things about God is how He uses the instruments of Satan to accomplish His purposes, on behalf of His children. How important it is to rehearse this in our minds. Much of the misery that may surround us could be the very means God intends to use for our sake. No wonder we are told not to worry, for “worry is blind, and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has a way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing” (The Desire of Ages, p.330). And now, listen carefully to the last paragraph of this quote: “Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme, will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.” Trust Him. Trust Him! Speak the promises of God to yourself until you trust Him. Do it today.

Ron E M Clouzet
NAD Evangelism Institute Director
Professor of Ministry and Theology
Andrews University Seminary