Isaiah 47: The Hazards of Pride
Isaiah 47 tells us about the judgment that is coming to Babylon. Obviously, they were a nation that suffered from many vices, but one stood out to me at least as I was reading this chapter.
Isa 47:8 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:
Isa 47:9 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.
Isa 47:10 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.
Isa 47:11 Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.
Their pride is what did them in. I am not a Hebrew scholar, but it is interesting that Babylon is saying in their heart, “I am.” It is interesting that this is what God told Moses from out of the burning bush. This is where my limited (and essentially nonexistent) Hebrew knowledge comes into play. The Hebrew words are different in Isaiah 47 then they are in Exodus 3. I don’t know the nuances of the language well enough to know if these claims were effectively identical, but if they were, imagine the arrogance. These people are using a title for God to essentially describe themselves.
Even if they aren’t functionally identical, the passage still makes it clear that pride was the problem here. They trusted in their wickedness. They figured that they were untouchable and unaccountable. Nobody could see them, and they made themselves wise in their own minds.
That never works out well.
The obvious lesson for all of us is that we don’t want to become Babylon. We don’t want to become so absorbed in ourselves that we begin to think we are God. Unfortunately, society promotes that kind of humanism today. Nobody can tell you what to do after all; you are your own authority.
That is not the Christian worldview. We are all accountable to God, and that is incredibly important. We cannot fall into this trap of pride.