Unlike the promise of restoration given for Jerusalem, Babylon’s destruction is final. According to my study notes, the first four verses of this passage are likely referring to Cyrus, God’s partner for paying back Babylon for all the wrongs done to the Israelites. God is going to work through someone else to complete his purposes.
It’s texts like this that prompt people to say God is frighteningly cruel. When people avoid God saying he’s mean or vengeful, the example of his plans for Babylon is on point. I view what God is doing here as being loving toward his people. Like a protective parent rushing to defend a child being bullied, God means business.
We do still struggle with the descriptive language used in the prophecy and what that means for real people. It seems the Babylonians were expendable. It’s hard to believe God would wipe out his own creation! Do you think God had good reason to react as he did toward Babylon?
What goes through your mind as you ponder how Babylon was used by God on the one hand to punish his own people and then destroyed in the end because of those very actions? Granted, there were seventy years of Babylonian abuse and inappropriate leadership that we don’t read about in this book of prophecy. Yet how do you make any sense of it?
The “hard reset” God used to wake up the Israelite people involved Babylon. God didn’t change his mind. His plan was never to destroy his own people completely. His plan was intended to cleanse his people from their evil ways.
So, what do you take away today? Romans 8:28 comes to mind for me. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” What do you suppose God is working on to keep you safe? When we love God, we can be sure that he is fighting our battles, seen and unseen.
Take some time today to reflect on how God is showing up in your life. I have referred to this as looking for “God sightings.” Sometimes we find God working in some of the oddest places. Some say, “God works in mysterious ways.” Would you agree? Take a look at Isaiah 45:15, which says, “Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways.”
Let’s pray. Lord, I know that you are working in my life, and that gives me such peace and assurance. There are a lot of moving parts in my life right now, and I trust that you have them all under your control. Help me not to worry but trust you to do your work. I am so grateful for what you do for me, for the promises in your word, and that I’ll one day be in your presence forever where I belong. In Jesus’ name. Amen.