Isaiah 47.5-10 – God’s use of sinful motives
Posted: 4 February 2011 in Isaiah

Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms. I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke. And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

The above passage exemplifies the way in which God can bring his purposes to fruition, even through the agency of those whose motives are wholly sinful. The Babylonians certainly entertained no idea that they were serving God in their actions.

The twice repeated phrase “I am, and none else beside me” is a deliberate reference to the divine name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3.14. The Babylonians were guilty of the besetting sin of human pride, with the self idolatry which inevitably flows from it. They are here reminded that there is only one God, who does not give his glory to another, and they are warned of impending judgment. Ironically, their sin is the selfsame one which originally caused Judah to be delivered into their hands.

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