by Pastor David Groendyk
The Lord continues his condemnation in this chapter of the wicked enemy nation of Babylon who had taken Judah into exile. At the heart of Babylon’s wickedness is their own pride (vv. 8–11). In these verses, we see some of the ways Babylon’s pride plays out. One way is that their pride has given them a false sense of security (v. 10). Notice that multiple times Babylon is quoted as saying, “I am, and there is no one besides me” (vv. 8, 10). That is a title and a boast reserved for the one true God alone (see Isa. 45:5–6, 14, 18, 22; 46:9 for just some of the most recent examples). God alone is self-sufficient. But Babylon, in all of their wealth and strength and wisdom, feel self-sufficient and invincible. Oh, how our pride distorts our judgment! We get used to living the good life, and we think it’ll last forever. It doesn’t feel like anything will ever interrupt the pleasure and contentment of the life we have. Life goes well, we gain some wealth, we gain some wisdom, we start to feel invincible, and we can miss the fact that we are nowhere near God. Oh, that God would give us an accurate picture of ourselves and our own pride and sin that cause us to forget God!
True security and confidence is found in God alone. Despite all of the boasting Babylon does, they will be laid down in the dust (vv. 1–7). God is the one who brings downfall (v. 5), and God is the one who gives success (v. 6). One lesson for us is that when we don’t recognize that it is God alone who gives the success, we’ve made ourselves liable to be brought down. God tears down a mighty nation quite easily and quickly in this chapter. Just because we’ve experienced some success in life doesn’t mean we’ve got it all figured out. Everything in life, even our successes, must point back to God and his glory. Another lesson, on the other hand, is that even when it doesn’t look like we have any sort of security or reason to have confidence by any earthly measure or standard, we still have God. As decimated as Judah was by their enemies, at the end of the day salvation and glory belong to Zion (Isa. 46:13) while darkness and disgrace belong to Babylon (vv. 3, 5). True success and security is having the Redeemer, Holy One, Lord of hosts on your side.
Finally, there is one last warning from God. If you put your hope in earthly protection, counsel, and powers, that’s all you’ll be left with to face God (vv. 12–15). This sort of principle is taught many places in Scripture in different ways. If you invest in this-world stock only, then you’ll only ever receive this-world returns (see Matt. 6:1–2 for a similar lesson). God is taunting Babylon here as they stand alone thinking they’re big enough and strong enough to take on God, and deservedly so! As we saw in chapters 44 and 46, it is silly to think that any created thing has any real power. Serve God and put your trust in him, and you will receive eternal next-world returns. Worship him alone, love him above all else, and you will be saved on that day.