Today's lesson covers a prophecy against Babylon. While referring to the historical Babylon, this chapter also speaks of the spiritual Babylon which is the world system.
Isaiah Chapter 47
Lessons from the text
The Tragedy of Sinners
It is easy to see that a witch or medium is in sin and on the path of destruction. But what about your professor of biology?
Scripture teaches us that sinners are in darkness. Relying on things that cannot satisfy, they weary their souls. They trust in their understanding of the world, seeking to build their perfect life, and are never able to attain it. Their worldview has a giant hole in it that they cannot fill. They know they are missing something but they don't know what. That is why the person who has everything he says he wants can still be miserable. He has everything he knows he wants, but he is still missing something.
Why does the scientist try to explain creation? Why does the philosopher answer the "big questions"? They are trying to fill that hole. They are trying to make sense of a world created by God without acknowledging Him. Such is a futile endeavor, but they cannot see that. To them, the Christian is the one who is blind, believing in the fairy tale of a perfect God. The world is too dark for there to be a God as good as the Christian God. In other words, stuck in darkness, they are blind to the truth that they can leave the darkness and live in light.
That is the tragedy of the sinner: they don't realize they can leave. They think they have it right.
God describes this condition in Isaiah 42:7 as sitting blind in darkness in a prison house. God tries to open their eyes to lead them out, but they choose to sit in darkness. Refusing to believe that there is a God, they dismiss the voice of the one trying to help them and set them free.
Watch the people around you. Are they living in darkness or light? Are they sighing constantly? Complaining about everything? Angry at everyone? All these are signs that that a person has a hole in his life. There is an emptiness that he cannot fill. That is why it is so important that we show our light by living in and walking with Christ. The born-again believer is living proof that one can come out of the dark and find peace and light.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-3 Nakedness brings shame by exposing one’s private parts. Babylon, though called delicate and tender, will have all of its filth exposed. Sin may look pleasant on the outside but is always destructive. Those who trust in the way of sin will be shamed when the pleasant exterior crumbles. What appears delicate and tender is actually hard work, nakedness, and fleeing. It takes one away from one’s home and leads one to a place of open shame.
God will not even meet such a one face to face; instead of being able to come to God to reconcile issues, one will be punished by Him. One can avoid this condemnation by turning from sin and seeking the ways of God. Then He is faithful to meet with one face to face (II Chro 7:14, I Jn 1:9).
4 God has no part in sinners. While He calls them to come out of their sin, His righteousness prohibits Him from accepting those who in sin. His light purges darkness; thus it is impossible to be in fellowship with God and be in darkness. Such is why God calls believers to be different from the world, a holy people. Then God can walk with man. Without Him, man is on his own in darkness, and He is not man’s redeemer.
5 Separated from God, Babylon (both the historical and the spiritual) are in darkness, but the people do not recognize it. They are called glamorous, rich, delicate, couture, and esteemed. God tends to bring destruction, troubles, and heartache to those people so that the spiritual darkness can be exposed as something physical which can be seen.
6 When God lowers His protective hedge around someone, it does not give one permission to take advantage of that person. The vulnerable should be shown mercy and the way back to safety. Babylon saw the weakened Jews and chose to increase their troubles instead of lessening them. Such is true of the world system; whatever is weak is used by the powerful for their purposes instead of enabling the weak to grow strong. This lack of mercy incurrs God’s wrath.
7-9 Those in sin do not realize they are in darkness and can be destroyed at any moment. They believe their way of life has no consequences. Rejecting God, they hold that they are all that matter; they are the ones who dictate and have authority over their lives. Such is not accurate. Whether or not they acknowledge God, He is still sovereign over them.
Because Babylon refuses to repent, in one day He will destroy it. This was fulfilled historically through Cyrus, King of Persia, through his servant Darius who conquered Babylon in one night (Dan 5:1-31). This prophecy will be fulfilled a second time against the spiritual Babylon during the Tribulation Period (Rev 18:1-19).
10-11 Though glamorous in appearance, sinners are trusting in wickedness. Believing in their own wisdom, arrogance blinds them to the coming judgment of God. As intelligent as they are, they cannot understand why one must humble oneself and not allow one’s knowledge to puff one up (I Cor 8:1-2).
12 In mockery, God challenges sinners to use magic and wisdom to defeat Him. God is saying that if one puts one’s trust in false gods and in knowledge, then one will have to defend one’s beliefs against God. Such is, of course, an impossible task. God is truth, justice, and wisdom, and all other ways are wickedness compared to His purity.
13 Despite their arrogance, sinners are wearied by the choices they make. Believing themselves wealthy, bountiful, wise, and even untouchable by troubles, they are in fact worn down by life because their souls are not being fed. God, as the Creator, is they only one who can rejuvenate the soul. Money, pleasure, and everything the world has to offer may bring momentary, superficial delight but it cannot bring peace, joy, and eternal life.
14-15 Those of the world who profess to have power do not even have the power to deliver their souls from hell. Rejecting God and His righteousness, they have no one to comfort them or deliver them. Without God, one is alone and helpless. No matter how much work or faith one puts in something, it cannot deliver them. Only God can deliver the soul.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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