Isaiah 47:6 – God’s Work and Babylon’s Responsibility

BIBLE TEXT

Isaiah 47:6

SUMMARY

Israel’s sin led to God’s punishment at Babylon’s hands, but Babylon went farther than God intended.

ANALYSIS

This little verse spells out a profound teaching of Isaiah. The Lord alone is God, but other agents have real choices in this world. Israel’s rebellion led to God’s punishment: Israel was taken into captivity by Babylon. The prophets make clear that, in this, Babylon served as God’s instrument (Isaiah 43:27-28; Jeremiah 20:4; etc.). But here we learn that Babylon is not thereby exonerated of its own responsibility. “I gave them into your hand, you showed them no mercy”–in other words, although Babylon served God’s purposes in stopping Israel’s rebellion, Babylon enjoyed its work altogether too much! To serve as God’s agent in history does not remove from the agent the responsibility to act morally and in moderation. God’s judgment is real, but the judge or the soldier or the parent or anyone who attempts to judge righteously must always also demonstrate God’s mercy.

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