Yahweh has accomplished his wrath. He has poured out his fierce anger. He has kindled a fire in Zion, which has devoured its foundations.
The kings of the earth didn’t believe, neither did all the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.
It is because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the middle of her.
They wander as blind men in the streets. They are polluted with blood, So that men can’t touch their garments.
“Go away!” they cried to them. “Unclean! Go away! Go away! Don’t touch! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, “They can’t live here any more.” Yahweh’s anger has scattered them. He will not pay attention to them any more. They didn’t respect the persons of the priests. They didn’t favor the elders.
Here I see another reason why God had to punish Israel for their rebellion. We are reminded, here, that the nations were watching. The nations, whether they were willing to be honest about it or not, knew that Israel’s God was different. The Bible tells us that everyone knows Israel’s God because He has put the knowledge of Himself inside of every one of us. These nations could see that Israel was rebelling against their own God and that God hadn’t done anything about it. It says in this passage that “The kings of the earth didn’t believe… that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem,” but He did.
The world then reacted and rejected Israel too, but this exposes an enormous inconsistency in their behavior. If Israel’s God rejects people for their rebellion, what will Israel’s God do to them? Do they really think that by distancing themselves from Israel that Israel’s God won’t find them?
In our world, people attempt to make the God of the Bible into a god that is more like what they want. They hear what the Bible says about God but they choose to not accept it because they don’t think that god would really be like that. When people do this they are rejecting the God of Israel too. Whether we want to believe that God is like this or not is quite irrelevant. We can’t choose our creator. When we act like we can, are we not being ridiculous? The worse problem is that what the Bible does show us, is that when we reject the real God, He will reject us. God has given us a man-sized responsibility to choose, not to make up our own gods, but whether or not we will accept the real one. If we refuse, we can see, by observing Israel here, what will happen to us.
“He has made the earth by his power. He has established the world by his wisdom. By his understanding he has stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a roar of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and brings the wind out of his treasuries.
“Every man has become stupid and without knowledge. Every goldsmith is disappointed by his image, for his molten images are falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, a work of delusion. In the time of their visitation, they will perish. The portion of Jacob is not like these, for he formed all things, including the tribe of his inheritance. Yahweh of Armies is his name.
It doesn’t matter what kind of man-made god is being worshiped in a culture. They all miserably fail when compared to the God of Israel. Had Babylon been paying attention to these people that they had been given permission to take captive, they might have discovered an amazing treasure. Their country could have been great for a long time to come.
This passage reminds us that the God of Israel is both alive and all powerful. He is the one that made all of the stars and it is by His wisdom and power that we have weather. He is the one who made the universe and the rules by which the weather operates. All that we have to do is to look around outside and see that these processes are dynamic. They keep going and going. They remind us that our God is also alive and that His word continues to maintain these dynamic processes.
When you compare that to the Babylonian gods, it’s pretty pathetic. First of all, these gods wouldn’t even be there had their goldsmiths not produced them. The way that this passage is worded makes me think that God is reminding us of the fact that these goldsmiths aren’t even satisfied with their own work. They know that they aren’t alive. They are just silent objects intended to trick the mind into thinking that they are something. These days, computers make very powerful images that appear to be alive. We even have things that modern technologists call “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning.” We all know that the intelligence is artificial, though. Its operation has been determined by imperfect software and data developers. Think about that a little. They are called “developers.” What they do is still developing and that’s because these developers and engineers are not perfect. They have to change their “intelligence” as they discover the wrong things they did before. God made the universe once in six days and stopped. He’s not a “developer,” He’s the Creator. That’s real intelligence. I’m told that complexity in a single cell of our body rivals the complexity of the city of New York. We may get all excited over our silly artificial intelligence, but God’s intelligence is what we should be excited about. Without Him, our computers wouldn’t exist. He is the only one that deserves to be praised and any nation that refuses to accept that will eventually end up like Babylon.