“Go up against the land of Merathaim,
even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod.
Kill and utterly destroy after them,” says Yahweh,
“and do according to all that I have commanded you.
A sound of battle is in the land,
and of great destruction.
How the hammer of the whole earth is cut apart and broken!
How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations!
I have laid a snare for you,
and you are also taken, Babylon,
and you weren’t aware.
You are found,
and also caught,
because you have fought against Yahweh.
Yahweh has opened his armory,
and has brought out the weapons of his indignation;
for the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, has a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans.
Come against her from the farthest border.
Open her storehouses.
Cast her up as heaps.
Destroy her utterly.
Let nothing of her be left.
Kill all her bulls.
Let them go down to the slaughter.
Woe to them! For their day has come,
the time of their visitation.
Listen to those who flee and escape out of the land of Babylon,
to declare in Zion the vengeance of Yahweh our God,
the vengeance of his temple.
In this passage, God gives us two reasons why He chose to destroy Babylon. First He says: “you have fought against Yahweh.” Second, He says he is doing it for “the vengeance of his temple.” As I mentioned before, it was God who commanded Babylon to destroy Jerusalem and the temple. It is always right to do what God says. It appears that Babylon’s problem was deeper.
This passage reminds us that it is possible to do the things that God says but still be disobedient in your heart. God expects us to obey because we have decided to do what is right from our hearts. If we are grumbling or complaining when we obey, it isn’t what God wants. In Babylon’s case, they weren’t merely grumbling. God tells us here that they took the opportunity to actually fight against the God of Israel. When Babylon tore down the temple, they did it with evil desire against God, not out of obedience to Him.
Do you remember when Joshua was leading Israel in their conquest of Canaan? There were times when God allowed Israel to lose bitterly. God did this when Israel decided to do something on their own, without God’s blessing. He also allowed them to lose when one of them disobeyed His command to not take plunder. When we are required to serve God in order to maintain justice, God requires that we do it His way. If we don’t, we become a problem to God. God will eventually punish us if we choose to take justice into our own hands. This is something that all governments should be paying close attention to. It should also be comforting to those of us who are persecuted by our governments. All governments that decide to fight against the One who put them in charge, will eventually be judged by Jesus, just like Babylon was.