Bible Study: Isaiah 23:1-18
Today's burden covers Tyre and takes an interesting turn in the city's restoration.
Isaiah Chapter 23
Lessons from the text
This chapter paints the picture of people howling over Tyre's destruction. How people mourn and weep when their idols are brought down? People put so much trust in their money, in their riches, and when all trade ceases, they cry, saying, “What a shame! It was so lovely!” But was it lovely?
The spiritual Babylon is described in Revelations as a prostitute who is drunk on the blood of the saints (Rev 17:3-6). Not only are there countries that martyr believers, but also there is a non-physical murder of the faith.
Should we be celebrating a culture that looks down on meekness, abstinence until marriage, and honest income? Glamour, nudity, and “living it up” are paraded pridefully as the signs of a “good life” here in America. If you do not agree with this celebration of humanity, then you are labeled as a closed-minded hypocrite.
This hostility against God's values is nothing new. Any person who does not know God does not like Him and His ways. If they liked how He does things, they would come to Him and accept His Son.
Scripture tells us to think about whatever is good and godly (Phil 4:8). If it is not good, pure, or righteous, we should not think a lot about it. If I find myself in a tizzy about having to pay twenty dollars at the movie theater but feel nothing about skipping tithes, then I am obviously putting value on the wrong thing. I shouldn’t care as much about my car, house, or social status as I do about sharing the Gospel.
1 Tyre is located on the southern coast of Lebanon. A trading port, it was and still is a center for commerce. Like other judgments, Tyre's destructions will be complete. Tyre was invaded by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, but this prophecy was not fulfilled until the city was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 332BC. Tarshish is a port city founded by Tyre whose location is uncertain. Chittim (Kittim), was the Hebrew name for the island Cyprus located to the west of Israel and south of Turkey.
2 Zidon is also on the coast of Lebanon, located about 25 miles north of Tyre.
3-4 Many of the cities surrounding Tyre were dependent on the sea-related occupations and trade generated by Tyre's economy. With Tyre destroyed, they will be unable to support themselves. Sihor is another name for the Nile River.
5-9 Just as Egypt is the commercial center of northern Africa, so Tyre is the commercial center between Asia and Arabia. The places people lift up as the glory of civilization will be brought down by God’s judgments.
10-11 As with the other judgments, God takes responsibility for the destruction of Tyre. What He does no one has the strength to prevent. The refugees will be as great as the flowing of a river.
12 Although the people rejoiced, they were oppressed. People in sin often believe they are free, not realizing that they are bound in shackles to their sin. No matter where these people flee, they do not have peace in their souls.
13 This sudden switch to the Chaldees is meant as an insult to Tyre: the Chaldees had not been recognized as a nation until Assyria help it gain political power, and yet they would partake in destroying the ancient, well-established Tyre. The towers and palaces of the Chaldees is Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar forced Tyre to pay tribute to him in 573BC.
14 Noteworthy is that instead of judging Tarshish, a colony of Tyre, God judges the source. Compare with Deuteronomy 24:16. Although Tarshish may fall under God's judgment, it will do so for its own sins.
15-16 Seventy years is also the length of time Judah spent in captivity in Babylon (Jer 25:12). When freed, Tyre will sing as a harlot, that is, triumphing in her sins, drawing attention to her way of life to interest those around her. The sweet melody is alluring to men, but in the end all she has is a memory (Prov 5:3-5). Even when it has its independence, Tyre will never return to the glory it once had.
17 When freed, Tyre will return to the one who commission her, Satan, as is seen in her committing fornication, or spiritual adultery, with the nations of the world.
18 Despite Tyre's condition and source of influence, its products will be used to take care of God's people. Holiness to the Lord suggests that it will support the priests. Widening the interpretation, while the world's materials may be produced by an ungodly system, the technology, clothing, and agricultural engineering are to the advantage of the saints to help provide us with life's daily needs.
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