I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. — Isaiah 13:3-4
It was a beautiful day! Families carried picnic baskets to find a cozy spot to watch the battle. It was the Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) during the American Civil War, and the Union Army was sure of victory. They were certain that their forces were far superior to the ragtag Southern Army.
The battle grew fierce, and the energized Southern Army forged ahead. The Union Army fled, as the Southern Army advanced with their famous rebel yell. Panicked picnickers grabbed their families and ran for safety. That day, after a hard-fought battle, with blood, sweat, and tears, the Southern Army claimed victory.
The people of the Union learned that they were facing a war, which could be difficult and costly, and that battles were not something to be viewed as picnic entertainment. As Isaiah prophesied of the destruction of Babylon, the battles he described were certainly not going to be something to see for pleasure. God Himself was going to bring the hosts to the battle, and His punishments would be severe.
Today, we are in a spiritual battle. Our enemy is Satan, and the warfare is not fun or entertaining. It may appear at times that our adversary is winning. But God is calling His sanctified ones to rally together under the banner of Truth, and shout for the battle! Most of our fight will be on our knees, and it will not be easy. A physical battle is arduous and wearisome, and so is spiritual battle. We may feel tired and maybe a bit discouraged at times. However, as we focus on our cause, we will be renewed in the Lord, and have energy to fight. Remember, our Captain never lost a battle! There is victory ahead. Just as the Lord led the hosts to overthrow Babylon, He will lead us to many victories as we prevail in prayer for the burdens of our hearts, and as we stand for Truth and Right in this wicked and godless world.
Up to this point, Isaiah’s prophecies were directed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah (chapters 1-6) and then to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (chapters 7-12). Beginning with the thirteenth chapter, the prophecies of judgment are directed toward other nations — those who oppressed God’s people. Chapter 13 deals with the judgments of Babylon.
The first verse refers to a burden or vision given to Isaiah concerning judgments to come. He prophesied about the destruction of Babylon long before it was a world power.
In time Babylon would become a noble, beautiful city. It was referred to as the “head of gold” in Daniel 2:37-38. One of the ancient world’s largest cities, and also among the Seven Wonders of the World, it was known for its massive walls and hanging gardens, which were built by Nebuchadnezzar II between 604-562 B.C. Beautiful palaces of the nobles were situated at the gates of the city, showing off the splendor and wealth there. Babylon was located about two hundred miles above where the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers joined, and the Euphrates divided the city almost equally in half. Today, Iraq is located where the glory of Babylon once stood. The ruins of this city are found about fifty miles south of Baghdad on the Euphrates’ west bank.
God called for a banner to be lifted up for the destruction of Babylon. There was a call for the sanctified ones to gather for this cause. Many of these warriors who would be set apart for this task would come from afar and join together to be instruments of the Lord for the destruction of Babylon.
The beauty and strength of Babylon would become rubble. Men would tremble from fear and their hearts would fail. The sun, moon and stars would not be seen, possibly because of storms or overcast. The earth and heavens would appear to shake and hope would be gone. So many men would be killed in battle that there would be a scarcity of males in the population. Such was the fate of those who had oppressed God’s chosen people. In 539 B.C., the Medes would come in and perform atrocities, taking no bribes, and showing no pity for the lives of the people of Babylon. There would be total destruction.
There are many overtones in this prophecy concerning the final Day of the Lord. Just as this was a warning to the oppressive Babylonians, there was a poignant message, warning of the end times when God will once again pour out His wrath on a sinful world.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and judging
C. Prophecies related to the foreign nations
1. The judgment upon Babylon
a. The doom of Babylon (13:1-22)
(1) The description (13:1-16)
(2) The desolation (13:17-22)
Let us rally under God’s banner of Truth and fight the good fight of faith. Remember, we are on the winning side!