As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. — Isaiah 47:4
Prior to 1945, the country of Romania had approximately one thousand Communist party members. After the war, membership soared to over one million with engineered help from Moscow. One year later, King Michael of Romania was forced to abdicate as his queen mother was held at gunpoint. The period that followed was full of terror as prewar leaders and prominent intellectuals were imprisoned or interned in hard-labor camps. Factories and businesses were nationalized and people had to turn over all of their possessions to the government.
In the following decades, the Communist party intensified control and intruded more deeply into the daily lives of its citizens. My mother was seven years old when she had to witness the government taking away her family’s land and possessions. I was born under the regime and never knew any other way of life until the age of fifteen, when I stepped for the first time on American soil and experienced freedom and democracy. What a contrast to the life I had been living!
I am thankful that before I experienced the freedom and democracy that this country offered, I experienced a far greater freedom in my heart, and that is freedom from sin. Satan had dominion over my heart and it caused more significant ruin than any earthly government could cause its citizens. But God, through a simple prayer of repentance, forgave my sins and changed my life. He gave me a fresh start and new outlook on life. That day, He became my Redeemer, my wonderful Friend.
The Communist regime of Romania was eventually overthrown and the people were given their freedom. Personal possessions were returned to them, and the abusive environment, where personal worth was continually crushed, ended. However, even today, nearly two decades later, that regime left deep imprints in the hearts and lives of those who lived under it.
Over twenty years have passed since I gave my heart to the Lord. Interestingly, I have found that the redemptive work performed in my heart back then has passed the test of time. There are no traces of the oppression that Satan can have over one’s life. Each day, the sound of Jesus’ name grows dearer. He has not only been my Redeemer and Friend, but He is Lord of my life.
This chapter predicts Babylon’s destruction. The Children of Israel would be delivered into Babylonian captivity in just over 100 years, allowed to suffer perpetual reproach and many troubles. God would use Babylon to correct His people. However, Babylon would carry its oppression too far and show no mercy to God’s people. Instead, it would lay a heavy yoke on the aged and would itself be lifted up with pride. Babylon was to become enchanted with the wisdom and knowledge of the astrologers, star-gazers, and sorcerers, and would trust in their foretelling of its future to the point that it would become self-sufficient and proclaim, “I am.” This language of pride provoked God, who pronounced judgment on the city.
The language used in this chapter is filled with metaphors that illustrate Babylon as a woman. For example, the magnificent empire was called a “virgin” in the first verse. One commentator believes that this referred to the fact that it had not been captured by its enemies. Verse 1 states, “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon.” The phrase “Come down” was a call to descend from authority, throne, magnificence, power, and pride. “Sit in the dust,” referred to sitting down on the ground and casting dust on the head. This was done by Job in the Bible and it represented a state of humility. The prophet was calling Babylon to humility.
In verse 3 God says, “I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.” In His proclaiming of judgment on Babylon, God would not confront her with the strength and compassion of a human. Rather, he would meet Babylon with the power of God, a strength which could not be resisted. He would show her the justice of God, which could not be bribed or changed.
Verse 8 speaks of how Babylon would be “given to pleasures,” and “dwellest carelessly.” The people would be indulging in a life of false security, luxury, and corruption, while not taking into consideration possible dangers and consequences. Babylon would feel she was immune from future catastrophes when she declared, “ I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.” She believed herself to be invincible and able to escape her worst fears.
However, in verse 9, God addressed that specifically. He revealed that at the height of her sorceries and enchantments, Babylon would find herself a “widow” and would suffer of the loss of her “children.” It is believed that this prophecy took place when Belshazzar, her king, was unexpectantly killed, therefore leaving her as a widow. The city was taken over by the Medes and the Persians who crucified over 3000 of her inhabitants — this representing the loss of her children.
God fulfilled what He had promised regarding Babylon, at the same time liberating His people from their oppressor in a miraculous way, and bringing judgment on the nation that took advantage of them.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of consolation: The Holy One of Israel comforting, redeeming and enriching
A. The promise of deliverance (comfort)
5. The destruction of Babylon
b. The destruction of Babylon (47:1-15)
(1) The declaration of judgment (47:1-7)
(2) The description of judgment (47:8-15)
The forces of righteousness are much stronger than any earthly dominance. They stand ready to act on the behalf of those who are ready to surrender their lives to the One whose name is “Lord of hosts,” and “Holy One of Israel.”