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.
“How Sheshach is taken! How the praise of the whole earth is seized! How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations! The sea has come up on Babylon. She is covered with the multitude of its waves. Her cities have become a desolation, a dry land, and a desert, a land in which no man dwells. No son of man passes by it. I will execute judgment on Bel in Babylon, and I will bring out of his mouth that which he has swallowed up. The nations will not flow any more to him. Yes, the wall of Babylon will fall.
“My people, go away from the middle of her, and each of you save yourselves from Yahweh’s fierce anger. Don’t let your heart faint. Don’t fear for the news that will be heard in the land. For news will come one year, and after that in another year news will come, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler. Therefore behold, the days come that I will execute judgment on the engraved images of Babylon; and her whole land will be confounded. All her slain will fall in the middle of her. Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, will sing for joy over Babylon; for the destroyers will come to her from the north,” says Yahweh.
An important thing for Christians to remember is that God calls us to focus on heavenly things and not on earthly things. Heavenly things are eternal, but earthly things are only temporary. I believe that this passage shows us that focusing on earthly things is also quite stressful on us as human beings. It’s like building your house in a place where a freeway is about to be built. Your house will be destroyed at some point in the future. Your trust in it would be poorly placed and at some point your stress is going to be more than you can handle. The reason I bring this up is because this passage tells us that Babylon became “the praise of the whole earth.” Everyone was talking about it. They thought that it was a strong foundation. Had you asked 9 out of 10 economists, they probably would have recommended investing in its economy.
From a heavenly perspective, Babylon was in serious trouble. Those who listened to the prophets of God would have had a heavenly perspective and would have known that Babylon was going to be completely destroyed. The stress for the believer was that they would have to get away from Babylon so as to not be destroyed with her. Jeremiah tells us why Babylon was so insecure. God was upset at “Bel” and about “the engraved images of Babylon.” Bel was a false god in Babylon. I understand that this is where the word: Belzebub originates. It appears that God recognized the worship of Bel as the force that swallowed up the nations. God was going to reverse that. God also intended to kill the people for following their idols.
In the end, the heavens and the earth would sing over Babylon’s destruction. This is very interesting to me because it reminds me that a world majority can follow after something that harms all of heaven and earth! A majority is not a protection at all. That’s what happens when we focus on this world instead of on heaven. Passages like these remind us that a majority belief held by corrupt human beings can actually be a warning sign. We need to listen to God’s prophets in the Bible so that we are ready for the horrible destruction to come.
John 1:5 : The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it.
The light of Jesus is shining in the darkness. The Bible says that there is darkness and Jesus is shining in it. This tells me that the world around us is not full of light. This is something that challenges our thinking as Christians. Because of the way people act around us, it’s easy to think that the world has everything together; that it has the light, but the Bible says that it is Jesus who has the light and the world has the darkness.
The world’s darkness has not been able to overcome the light that comes from the life of Jesus. When we have Jesus life in us, our light cannot be overcome by the darkness either. It is very interesting to read that it use the present tense: “That light shines…” Jesus is still alive today inside of us. The light still shines.
I think that as history, this verse is specifically talking about the fact that even though Jesus came at a very dark time in history, the evil at that time could not destroy Him or his purpose here.
The things that happened to Jesus before He was born weren’t that great. His mother and father were forced to go all the way to Bethlehem just to be counted so that they could pay taxes when they were nine months pregnant. He was forced to be born in a town that was so crowded, the guest rooms were all taken and the animal lodging place had to be used. After the baby was born Herod, their leader, became jealous when he heard that a king had been born somewhere in his region, so he ordered that all children put to death under the age of two. Joseph was warned in a dream and immediately left to Egypt. Jesus was constantly pressed by the darkness in this world and ultimately put to death by it. But even in this, he overcame. I doubt that it really was a “Silent Night” the day Jesus was born. The good part is that Jesus was shining in this dark world and nothing could stop it.