May 22: Isaiah 23
Numbers 31; Psalms 75-76; Isaiah 23; 1 John 1
God has pronounced woes and judgments on Israel - now separated from Judah, the southern kingdom - and her neighboring nations. Now God’s attention turns to Tyre.
Tyre was the New York City or Hong Kong of its day - an economic center, making many other nations wealthy: Tarshish and Cyprus (1), Sidon (2 and 4), and even Egypt (3). But it should learn from recent history: Assyria has defeated Babylon, and, God says, Tyre is next (13).
What is God’s beef with Tyre? Not its money, but what wealth so often produces: pride (9). Note the Hebrew wordplay here: “hosts” and “glory” sound alike. Man, in his pride, seeks for his own glory, but God in His true power defiles it. Again - not wealth, per se, but pride.
Now, it’s what happens next that may surprise you. God announces that Tyre will be laid low for 70 years - the life of a king. But after that time, she will return to her old ways: prostituting herself for wealth (15-17).
But the fruit of that prostitution, ironically, will be “holy to the Lord” (18). God will not allow Tyre to store up this wealth herself, but He will instead supply His own people with it. By this the “Egyptians” will again be plundered (Exodus 12:36).
God is sovereign, over all nations, and people. It’s not a matter of whether that’s true, but which way we will respond: whether in prostituting pride, or in humble submission. Only one leads to life.