Wednesday, August 09, 2023

2023.08.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Isaiah 13–14

Read Isaiah 13–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Isaiah 13:1 call this word? Against whom is this burden? Who saw it? What does Isaiah 13:2 say to do to the invading army? What does Isaiah 13:3 call them? How does Isaiah 13:4 describe them? What are they (Isaiah 13:5)? Why do they come to to earth? What day is this (Isaiah 13:6)? What effect will this have upon whom (Isaiah 13:7-8)? How does the day come (Isaiah 13:9)? How much of creation is involved in this wrath (Isaiah 13:10Isaiah 13:13-14b)? Why is this punishment coming (Isaiah 13:11, cf. Isaiah 13:19)? What result would such punishment have (Isaiah 13:12)? How great is the devastation (Isaiah 13:15-16)? Who will use whom in a day that anticipates this day (Isaiah 13:17a)? What will they be like (Isaiah 13:17-18)? Why (Isaiah 13:19)? Who won’t inhabit Babylon (Isaiah 13:20)? Who will (Isaiah 13:21-22)? Why does this day (Isaiah 13:17-22) of YHWH, and the great day (Isaiah 13:2-16) of YHWH, come (Isaiah 14:1)? Upon whom will YHWH have mercy? Whom will He choose? Who will be grafted in? How will these strangers treat Israel (Isaiah 14:2)? What will YHWH do for His people in a coming day (Isaiah 14:3)? What will Judah (now united Israel) do in that day (Isaiah 14:4)? What will they say happened to Babylon? Who will they say has done what to whom (Isaiah 14:5)? What will have happened (Isaiah 14:6)? With what result (Isaiah 14:7)? What else will be “glad” for Babylon to be defeated (Isaiah 14:8)? Why (verse 8c–d)? What further awaits Babylon (Isaiah 14:9)? Who is there? What do they ask (Isaiah 14:10)? What has brought them all down (Isaiah 14:11a–b)? What envelops them now (verse 11c–d)? Who was the first to fall so (Isaiah 14:12a–c)? Whom had he weakened (verse 12d)? How high was his pride (Isaiah 14:13-14)? How low was his fall (Isaiah 14:15)? What will others say about both Satan and Babylon (Isaiah 14:16-17)? How will Babylon’s fall be more like Satan’s than other nations’ (Isaiah 14:18-21)? By Whom would/could this happen (Isaiah 14:22-23b)? To what menial chore is this compared for Him (Isaiah 14:23c)? Who else’s destruction is an example of this work (Isaiah 14:24-26)? What will Assyria’s falling in this exact way show (Isaiah 14:27)? In what year did this next burden come, even though it is placed here in the book (Isaiah 14:28)? Against whom is it (Isaiah 14:29Isaiah 14:31)? What has happened to David (“the rod that struck” Philistia, Isaiah 14:29b)? How is Philistia tempted to respond (verse 29a)? But what will happen to Philistia anyway (Isaiah 14:29-31)? But who will have survivors (Isaiah 14:32)? Why/how? 

What does the Lord do in destroying Assyria? Isaiah 13–14 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fifty-four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in judging Assyria, YHWH would display His justice and salvation, which He does in a bigger way by judging Babylon, and in the ultimate way at the last day. 

An ultimate day of YHWH, Isaiah 13:2–16. It seems odd that the burden would be against Babylon, when it is Assyria whose use in punishing Israel and whose own subsequent punishment have been prophesied (Isaiah 10:5ff). But Babylon will be a bigger historical preview of the great day of YHWH. That day (Isaiah 13:6) will involve all of creation (Isaiah 13:10Isaiah 13:13-14). YHWH will come with His holy ones (Isaiah 13:3-5, cf. Revelation 19:11–16), and all His enemies will be dismayed (Isaiah 13:6-8, cf. Revelation 6:15–17). The punishment will be utter and complete (Isaiah 13:14-16). More than that, it will be deserved (Isaiah 13:11). It was at Babylon (Babel) that all of humanity made its purest expression of pride against God. The judgment at the last day will be a perfect justice against this. And now, even as the Lord prophesies the restoration/rescue of His people from Babylon, He gives Babylon itself and its destruction as a great warning against the pride of man!

A great day of YHWHIsaiah 13:17-22. With Isaiah 13:17, the focus shifts back to the nearer future. The Medes (and Persians) will be YHWH’s instrument for destroying Babylon (verse 17a). Their thirst for destruction (Isaiah 13:17-18) will make them an appropriate parallel to the judgment coming on the last day. Babylon’s unique pride (Isaiah 13:19) will make their great fall (Isaiah 13:20-22) an appropriate parallel to the destruction of proud humanity in the last day.

YHWH’s focus in historyIsaiah 14:1-2. Why, then, does history even continue? And how can any humans be saved from their own pride? Yahweh has compassion on Jacob (the heel-grabber!), despite himself. And He has chosen to save him as Israel (God wrestles). Indeed, YHWH has chosen him to save strangers along with them (Isaiah 14:1c, cf. Genesis 12:3, Genesis 18:18, Genesis 22:17–18, Genesis 26:4). And the two will become a household with humbled Jacob as the head (Isaiah 14:2). Only in Christ, as slaves in His house of love, is there salvation from the wrath of God.

The fate of all the othersIsaiah 14:3-11. The rest of humanity, as represented in Babylon. Even the inanimate creation had suffered under him (Isaiah 14:8d) and will rejoice over his elimination (verse 8a–c). But his fall does worse than elimination from this world. Hell itself is excited to receive him (Isaiah 14:9), and the maggots and worms of Isaiah 14:11 offer not the peace of elimination but the horror of perpetual gnawing (cf. Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 9:48). Even the idea of pleasure apart from the Lord (Isaiah 14:11b) has made their pride (verse 11a) all the worse. The pride itself will be a Hell of torture.

The first great fallIsaiah 14:12-15. There was, however, one fall greater than Babylon’s. Humanity has followed Lucifer, who “weakened the nations” (Isaiah 14:12d). His pride was the template for all of ours (Isaiah 14:13). It was he who said, “you will be like God” (Isaiah 14:14, cf. Genesis 3:5). Hell was originally prepared for him (Isaiah 14:15, cf. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:14). 

The higher they fly, the lower they fallIsaiah 14:16-32. So, in time, the king of Babylon is like a little Lucifer, who flew so high and was destroyed so completely (Isaiah 14:16-17). God makes his destruction uniquely wretched such that it is noticed as an example to all (Isaiah 14:18-21). Lesser enemies would endure falls corresponding to them: Assyria (Isaiah 14:24-27), Philistia (Isaiah 14:28-32), and even Moab (chapters 16–17). Within Moab’s burden, the hope of being gathered into Israel, and therefore unto YHWH, will be expanded upon. But here, Philistia, and Assyria, and Babylon have increasing pride and therefore increasing destruction.

The only hopeIsaiah 14:22-23, 27Isaiah 14:27Isaiah 14:32. At the close of each of these sections, YHWH gives a comment that distills the instruction of it. In Isaiah 14:22-23, He proclaims His superiority; His rise that devastates Babylon is as effortless as sweeping a broom. Whatever He purposes shall come to stand (Isaiah 14:24Isaiah 14:27). And His purpose has been to found Zion, to give refuge not to the proud of the nations but to the poor of His elect nation (Isaiah 14:32). We are all doomed by our pride, except in the hope that is in the Lord’s saving purpose! Is that your hope, dear reader? Or will you be sunk to Hell by the desire to be your own purpose, to live for your own pleasure, and according to your own principles?

How does remaining pride express itself in some of the purposes at which you are aiming with your life? How does remaining pride express itself in some of the pleasures for which you strive? How does remaining pride express itself in the Scripture principles of morality that you are willing to compromise? Who is your hope for forgiveness for this pride? Who is your hope for deliverance from it? How are you acting upon these hopes?

Sample prayer:  Lord, like Lucifer and Babylon, our hearts are still riddled with wicked pride. We often aim for purposes other than You and strive for pleasures apart from You and live by principles in which we compromise Your commandments. Have mercy upon us in Your electing love for Jacob! Forgive us, for the sake of Christ, and the love in which You gave Him. And cleanse us by the power of Christ, applied to us by Your Spirit, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH299 “Joy to the World!” 

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