We Are No Different!

Isaiah 48:3-5.

I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.

Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;

I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

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God is omniscient. All-knowing.  He is the only One Who tells the future and Who is right 100% of the time. He points out that He reminds Israel of His omniscience because He knows how stubborn and rebellious they are.

The reason He reminds them that He has told them what will happen  long before it happens, and that His track record is perfect,  is that He knows they would give credit to their images and idols instead of to Him.

Lest we be smug and arrogant, thinking we would never be as sinful as the nation of Israel has been, we need to look at, say, the abortion rate in America; or the number of fatherless homes; or the number of  teens doing drugs, alcohol and sex, just for starters. Then we could talk about the murder rates in our big cities, especially in Chicago. And then we can fall to our knees and beg God to deliver us, because we are not able to deliver ourselves.

God vs. Israel

Isaiah 48: 1-2.

 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.

For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The Lord of hosts is his name.

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In the first part of this chapter, God accuses Israel of hypocrisy and commands them to hear His case  against them.  God says they did call upon the God of Israel, but not in truth or righteousness.  They would come back to God and call upon His Name only in times of trouble and suffering.

The next several verses , God compares His omniscience with Israel’s rebellion.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that after so many times of repeating this cycle of rebellion, suffering, repentance, and restoration, that Israel would finally figure it out, wouldn’t you?  But they didn’t, and neither do we.  We’ve had a lot of years of relative peace and plenty here in America.  There is no guarantee, unless we have a revival here,  and people turn from sin to the Savior.

No Help

Isaiah 47:14-15

14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.

15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.

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All the idols of Babylon will be destroyed by fire when the city falls. It won’t be a fire to warm one’s hands over, nor a comfortable fire for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.

All the wise men, astrologers, magicians and sages of Babylon would be useless. None of them would stand for the people. They would all slink off into their own lairs. No one would save the city from destruction.

Mysticism Worthless

Isaiah 47:12-13

Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.

13Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.

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The challenge here was for the wise men, the magi, of Babylon to use all their wisdom, all their sorcery and magic, to try to escape the coming judgment.  It was all a snap of the fingers to God.

Those trained in the occult in Babylon  had been studying from their youth, but all their knowledge would be worthless.  They would not prevail against God.

We have them today, too, don’t we?  The astrologers, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators still try to predict the future.   God challenges them all to stand up and do their best to save Babylon from the coming judgment.

Believers, don’t be fooled by all this.  It has existed since Satan fell from heaven.  It has always attracted a following because in our pride, we want to be greater than God.  Yes, there are a few who occasionally  seem to get it right.  However, according to all I’ve read, there’s about a 50/50 success rate.  You and I could do about as well if we keep abreast of current events and know something about history.  The rise and fall of empires and world leaders is nothing new.

All the magic and “wisdom” of Babylon did not protect it from God’s judgment.

Sudden Destruction

Isaiah 47: 10-11.

10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.Image result for thou hast said, None seeth me

I can’t even count the number of times I have told people in my counseling office that you cannot trust your emotions, the way you feel, must be the truth.

People trust in all sorts of things.  Babylon trusted in its wealth, its wisdom and its pride in say “I am he, and there is none else beside me.” They trusted in their magic and wickedness to protect them and they lived carelessly, believing they were beyond the reach of any harm.

They felt they were untouchable.  Their feelings were not the truth. Their destruction was going to be complete, and they would be completely taken off guard. There would be no time for enchantments or spells or any other man-made effort to save themselves.

Self-Reliance

Isaiah 47:8-9

Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

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Babylon’s fall would be sudden, and it would come as a great surprise to these incredibly self-absorbed people who thought of themselves in the same terms in which God describes Himself. “I am, and there is no one else beside me.”  How any human being can consider himself in those terms really leaves me amazed.

The people of Babylon were so confident of their superiority that they never considered for a moment that they could or would be destroyed by the threat from the East, in the person of Cyrus. They were so sure of their safety that they lived carelessly, never worrying that they would lose their freedom, being involved in sorceries and enchantments.

I can’t help but think of so many Americans today who are caught up in witchcraft, enthralled with stories of vampires,  hooked on TV programs that portray terrible evil, loving “music” that is filled with hatred, anger, and rebellion, and unnatural lust.  We need to pay attention.  Babylon was not exempt from God’s judgment, and neither are we. I’m thankful that there are still those who love God, who love His Word, and who are in places of power here in America.

What we really need is a national revival.

Why Judgment?

Isaiah 47: 6-7

I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.

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God was angry because His people had strayed–again–away from Him into idolatry.  His people were defiled by idolatrous practices, so he allowed Babylon to conquer them and take them into slavery.  But Babylon went too far.  They showed no mercy to the Israelites.  They even placed heavy workloads on frail older people who could not stand up under such demands.

Babylon thought she would always be supreme among the nations (I will be a lady forever), and in her pride, she forgot that she was dealing with the Holy One of Israel.