The Expository Files


 Remembering Babylon

In Chicago there is a museum called the Oriental Institute. I have really enjoyed the times I have gone to peruse the items there. One will find here many archeological treasures including many from places and times described in the Bible. As you enter the Chaldean section, you will see a part of a huge gate covered by blue, yellow and red tile. These tiles are arranged so that they form the profile of two lions. They were taken from one of the eight gates of ancient Babylon - a city destroyed about 25 centuries ago. Through this very gate Daniel, Shadrach, Meschak and Abednigo probably walked. You can read about these heroes of faith in the Old Testament Book of Daniel.

Babylon was indeed a great city, but extremely arrogant and wicked. Because of its sin and rebellion, God decreed through His prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah that Babylon would be destroyed. The people there did not worry too much about it. Babylon was too powerful and mighty to fall. The prophets and their forecasts of doom were silly.

Jeremiah (in chapter 51 of his book) and Isaiah (in chapter 13 of his book) prophesy about Babylon’s destruction. About a century before its fulfillment, Isaiah predicted it would be destroyed by the Medes, that it would never be resettled, and that the Arab would not even pitch his tent there but that only wild animals would be its inhabitants. Every detail of these and other prophecies came to pass!

Two important points: (1) Pride and rebellion against God is foolish - people can mock the idea of Divine judgment but that won’t keep it from happening. (2) Babylon fell just as the Bible said it would. The Scriptures are reliable and trustworthy!
The people of Israel were on the threshold of entering Canaan, the promised land. God was giving this portion of His creation to them just as He had promised Abraham, their ancestor. That promise had been made about 5 hundred years before. All the people had to do was to trust and obey God, and that should have been easy!

The Egyptians knew from experience what Jehovah would do for His chosen people - they had witnessed the 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. The Canaanites also knew - the amazing reports of what God had done in Egypt just two years before had reached them. God had intended for it to.. He wanted them out of there. This land belonged to Abraham’s descendants (see Josh. 2:9-11).

It seems as if everyone knew that God would provide for these people. The Israelites referred to their God as “the living God” because He was not a lifeless idol made of gold, wood or stone. Everyone knew that God would give Israel victory except… for Israel themselves! They doubted in God and in themselves. The Canaanites were too strong, they thought (Num. 13:31).

They were motivated more by fear and doubt than by faith. Because of this lack, that generation would die in the wilderness, and their children would be the ones to cross into Canaan, the land “flowing with milk and honey.” The New Testament makes the point that our lives can be like that… filled with hesitance, doubt and fear, or they can be confident, filled with hope, peace and ultimately victory. God will give us a new land He has prepared if we live by faith. Jesus has prepared a place for us, and faith in Him “is the victory that overcomes the world.” (1 John 5:4).


By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 20.12;  December 2013