Isaiah 13 has the prophet beginning a series of prophecies against the nations. The first target is Babylon. Isaiah sees their future. At the time of this prophecy, Babylon was a significant nation, but they were definitely behind the Assyrian Empire in status. Yet the Lord who knows the end of all things can speak of the judgment on the pride of Babylon hundreds of years before the judgment comes. Isaiah paints that picture for us. They will rise to power, but God will finally extinguish them.
God has given Isaiah a view of what is to come. This is an army of judgment against the Babylonian Empire, prophesied decades before they were even a superpower. This powerful army is described vividly, with sights and sounds of battle given in detail. God knows all. He is in control of even the mightiest of armies. He knew and told Isaiah what was to come centuries before it happened. That’s the kind of God we serve. But beyond the outcome, God also tells us why. “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless”.
The King of Babylon, who obviously hasn’t even been born yet, will be an evil ruler that will lead his nation into sin. He will be prideful and ruthless. God is going to deal with him in the strongest of ways. The Lord is going to set things right. His authority will rule and reign. Earthly power is subservient to God and His power. And the king of Babylon is going to experience that up close and personal. Babylon is described in the commentaries as ‘the essence of all evil, the embodiment of cruelty, the foe of God’s people, and the lasting type of sin, carnality, lust and greed.’ God’s not going to tolerate it.
So what’s He going to do you may ask? “I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.” God’s going to act. God can shake the heavens and move the earth. He’ll hunt them down like a gazelle – His pursuit will be endless until He captures His prey. God is coming off the throne to wipe out the kingdom of Babylon. They’ll be listed among the other cities and people whom God has poured His wrath upon. Woe to these folks….