December 27, Sunday Devotion
1 But the Lord will have mercy on the descendants of Jacob. He will choose Israel as his special people once again. He will bring them back to settle once again in their own land. And people from many different nations will come and join them there and unite with the people of Israel. 2 The nations of the world will help the Lord’s people to return, and those who come to live in their land will serve them. Those who captured Israel will themselves be captured, and Israel will rule over its enemies.
3 In that wonderful day when the Lord gives his people rest from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains, 4 you will taunt the king of Babylon. You will say,
“The mighty man has been destroyed. Yes, your insolence is ended. 5 For the Lord has crushed your wicked power and broken your evil rule. 6 You struck the people with endless blows of rage and held the nations in your angry grip with unrelenting tyranny. 7 But finally the earth is at rest and quiet. Now it can sing again! 8 Even the trees of the forest—the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon—sing out this joyous song: ‘Since you have been cut down, no one will come now to cut us down!’ 9 “In the place of the dead there is excitement over your arrival. The spirits of world leaders and mighty kings long dead stand up to see you. 10 With one voice they all cry out, ‘Now you are as weak as we are! 11 Your might and power were buried with you. The sound of the harp in your palace has ceased. Now maggots are your sheet, and worms your blanket.’ 12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. 13 For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. 14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ 15 Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. 16 Everyone there will stare at you and ask, ‘Can this be the one who shook the earth and made the kingdoms of the world tremble? 17 Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wasteland? Is this the king who demolished the world’s greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?’ 18 “The kings of the nations lie in stately glory, each in his own tomb, 19 but you will be thrown out of your grave like a worthless branch. Like a corpse trampled underfoot, you will be dumped into a mass grave with those killed in battle. You will descend to the pit. 20 You will not be given a proper burial, for you have destroyed your nation and slaughtered your people. The descendants of such an evil person will never again receive honor. 21 Kill this man’s children! Let them die because of their father’s sins! They must not rise and conquer the earth, filling the world with their cities.”
22 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I, myself, have risen against Babylon! I will destroy its children and its children’s children,”
says the Lord. 23 “I will make Babylon a desolate place of owls, filled with swamps and marshes. I will sweep the land with the broom of destruction. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
This is a really hard passage to bring to life. The first two verses are more description of things to come, but the following 19 verses we see Israel taunting their fallen enemies. I don't think this means we should kick our enemies when they are down. Honestly, I don't think the response is even very Christ-like, except to say that oppression causes deep wounds that are not easily reconcilable. And we are to be people of reconciliation. The final two verses show that in certain situations, it is God's responsibility to balance out the justice. Again, I really don't like this passage. Does it seem like the people still haven't learned their lesson from before their oppression? How much credit is God getting in this passage from the people? Is there a response that would be better?
Lord, sometimes when I read your word, I get kind of mad how your people act. Then I think about how I act as a representative of you. Please show me the same grace you have shown them. Amen.