These words were piercing to me this morning. They are heavy on my heart and they have forced me to my knees on behalf of the many who still dwell in the captive land of self and sin which was once my own abode! I am thankful to be free from these chains, by God's grace. Sin and selfishness still REMAIN in me, but they no longer REIGN in me. Soli Deo Gloria!
Babylon has foolishly made God her enemy through idolatry and cruelty and therefore, the just and holy God will come in just and holy vengeance. Babylon has mercilessly held Israel captive and this God, whom they've gone to war with is "the Holy One of Israel." He is Israel's "Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name." He is the omnipotent One and Babylon is not strong enough to hold back the LORD of hosts. He is the just One and Babylon cannot bribe Him into letting them off the hook. Babylon is in "heap big trouble."
Apart from the imputation of Christ we are in "heap big trouble" too! Our sin has rightly made us enemies with the Holy One of Israel. We have gone to war with the Just and Righteous LORD of hosts. Because of the divine perfections of His character, He will not simply wink at our sin and let us off the hook either. He can't - for then He would cease to be who He is - Holy and Just and Righteous! Someone must pay the price for our treason and it will either be the sinner or the Savior. How thankful I am for the work of Christ in whom the Just became the justifier of the elect! Christ's redeeming work has paid the debt I could not pay and has freed me from the hell that I fully deserve. My sin - His righteousness! His righteousness - my sin! By grace, through faith in Christ I am no longer God's enemy but am now His child!
Yet, it is not only ancient Babylon of whom this is true. This attitude is the undergirding structure of every unbeliever in the world. "I am, and there is no one besides me." By nature we are just as cocky, haughty,blasphemous, and foolish. Self is our God - self-gratification, self-service, self-preservation, self-seeking, self-worth, me, me, me. Apart from Christ, even our service to and for others is, at the heart, about us. "It makes ME feel good to do that for someone." "If I do good for them it'll come back around to ME at some other time." "Maybe someone will notice and give ME a pat on the back." Babylon cries out "I am, and there is no one beside me." How often in our actions and motives do we practically cry out the same thing? O how we all need Christ to free us from ourselves!
God responds to her with "your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you." None are so blind as those who look only to themselves as the fount of wisdom and knowledge. None are so eternally dehydrated as those who refuse to drink of the water of Life. Fair warning has been repeatedly offered to them. They would not look and listen. They would not take and drink. Now all their boasting is about to fall upon them in a ruinous heap of destruction. Look around, are we really any different? How many in our own ranks live as if they will never die, spend as though the money will never run out, and continually presume upon the mercy of God as if He were not there and as though He could not see?
They thought they were so smart. They were in fact stupid! "Your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; for you have said in your heart, 'I am and there is no one besides me.'" David reminds us that "the fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God." His son, Solomon, acknowledges that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." They were not knowledgable wisemen as they proudly assumed, they were deluded fools and their foolishness would lead to their undoing.
My heart aches as I meditate on these things. How many around me are deluded by their feigned wisdom and knowledge? How many are deceived by pride and self-seeking? How many are living as though no one sees and as if no day of reckoning will appear? How many, whom I love so dearly are living and thinking as though "I am, and there is no other besides me." How many are rushing headfirst into misery and self-destruction? We all need atoning. We all need a "fixer upping". But, none of us can "fix" or atone for ourselves, there is but One sure atoning sacrifice - the LORD Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of sinners.
"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. " (Rom 3:21-25)
They and we arrogantly proclaimed : "I am, and there is no one besides me." The truth of the matter is: I am NOT God and there are a multitude of people just, exactly, like me - specifically "ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." God alone is God and there is NO one like Him. Wisdom and knowledge do not dwell in me, but in Him. "In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col 2:3). I was once a foolish Babylonian, at times I still find myself momentarily wandering back to their ways. I am so humbled and thankful that Christ, the Atoner, knocked down the high towers of deluded arguments that I had built for myself and rescued me from my own Babylonian captivity.
LORD - in Your marvelous mercy would You do the same for the many whom I love so dearly that have built their lives on the shifting sand of self?! Would you grant them to know that You "are the LORD, and there is none else...there is no other God besides [You], a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except [You]."
Free at last,