John D. Barry
Isaiah 13:1–14:23; Luke 5:1–39; Job 4:1–11
The Bible echoes with great battle cries: “Raise a signal on a bare hill, lift up your voice to them; wave the hand.… A sound of the roar of the kingdoms, of nations gathering! Yahweh of hosts is mustering an army for battle” (Isa 13:4).
In this proclamation, God declares war on Babylon for their brutal and evil deeds against His people. Yet He calls for “a signal” to be raised so that the Babylonians might repent from their great wickedness. They have an opportunity to surrender to Yahweh before it’s too late—and we must do the same.
We tend to see ourselves as less evil than the infamous sinners of the past, but in a way we all carry shades of Babylon in ourselves. Just as the Babylonians did, we set up and worship idols instead of loving Yahweh with our entire being. Similarly, we attack others instead of loving them the way God has loved us. If we search our hearts, we find that painting ourselves as more righteous than past sinners doesn’t work: We’re all in need of a Savior. We’ve all fallen short (Rom 3:21–26). In that sense, we all come from Babylon.
Although most of us are willing to identify our private idols—such as money, power or fame—few of us realize the depth of our betrayal. When Isaiah portrays the sinner that is Babylon, he is neither tolerant nor sympathetic (Isa 13:19). Instead, he issues a harsh warning that the day of Yahweh’s coming—the time of reckoning is near (Isa 13:6). It’s no different for us today. When the NT writers depict sin, they do not underestimate how much it inhibits God’s work in us and in the world (2 Pet 1:8–15). With the same urgency that Isaiah expressed, they note that now is the time to repent and do God’s will (2 Pet 3).
God has called us to join Him in the battle against evil by living Spirit-filled lives in accordance with His will—lives of loving others, despite how hard that might be sometimes (Eph 4:1–6; 6:11–20). We must answer God’s urgent call upon us. There is no time to waste.
How can you express love today as a sign of God’s war against evil?
This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.
John D. Barry is the CEO and founder of Jesus’ Economy, a nonprofit dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. To empower the extreme poor, Jesus’ Economy also has an online fair trade shop. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the former editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. Learn more about John’s work with Jesus’ Economy at www.jesuseconomy.org.