Read Isaiah 13
Focus on verse 9
Babylon in the Bible typically is representative of the arrogance of man regarding his accomplishments. It can be traced back to humanity’s first united act of defiant disobedience in the eleventh chapter of Genesis with the failed attempt at uniting humanity against God at the building of the tower of Babel.
Here in this chapter of Isaiah we find a message from the Lord in regard to the nation of Babylon foretelling the demise and destruction of this proud and glorious nation. “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom, and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.” (v. 9)
A broad survey of biblical history seems to reveal a cyclical pattern of human interaction with God. It can be seen most clearly in His interaction with the nation of Israel, but it is also evident in the way God interacts with surrounding nations. According to the record of the book of Daniel, it would seem that both King Darius as well as King Nebuchadnezzar worshipped, or at least acknowledged the supremacy of God – who at that time would have been considered the God of the nation of Israel.
What makes this interesting is the way in which God is revealing himself not just to the nations of Israel those who worshipped Him, but that He is revealing His supremacy over all other gods to the nations surrounding Israel as well. In ancient times it was believed that if a nation was defeated and captured by another nation it was a reflection of the superior strength and power of not only the people of the nation, but also of the gods of the victorious nation. When the Babylonians capture the nation of Israel, something unique takes place that becomes evident more clearly in the book of Daniel. The God of Israel makes it clear through events such as the young men who survived the fiery furnace, and Daniel’s survival of the den of lions that the God of Israel had not been defeated, and was in fact God of all gods and King of all kings.
It is this supreme God of the universe who determines the rise and fall of empires, and there seems to be a direct correlation between the duration of any given empire and that empire’s response to the supremacy of God. It would seem that the arrangement God made with the nation of Israel as recorded in Numbers and Deuteronomy might apply in principle to humanity in general. In other words, whether it is nations, families or individuals, the people who worship and honor God as the creator and sustainer of the universe tend to fair well as nations, families or individuals. On the other hand, those who rebel against God and attempt to usurp His position as creator and sustainer of the universe typically go the way of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the higher they set themselves up the harder they fall.
In the final analysis it would seem that God in His infinite wisdom and mercy gives us plenty of opportunities to recognize His supremacy leaving it to us to make the choice as to how we will respond to Him. If we choose to accept Him as God – He lifts us up. If we choose to lift ourselves up – He allows us to fall. As always it seems the choice is left to us.