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Read Isaiah 47

The Fall of Babylon

47 “Go down, sit in the dust,
    Virgin Daughter Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
    queen city of the Babylonians.
No more will you be called
    tender or delicate.
Take millstones and grind flour;
    take off your veil.
Lift up your skirts, bare your legs,
    and wade through the streams.
Your nakedness will be exposed
    and your shame uncovered.
I will take vengeance;
    I will spare no one.”

Our Redeemer—the Lord Almighty is his name—
    is the Holy One of Israel.

“Sit in silence, go into darkness,
    queen city of the Babylonians;
no more will you be called
    queen of kingdoms.
I was angry with my people
    and desecrated my inheritance;
I gave them into your hand,
    and you showed them no mercy.
Even on the aged
    you laid a very heavy yoke.
You said, ‘I am forever—
    the eternal queen!’
But you did not consider these things
    or reflect on what might happen.

“Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure,
    lounging in your security
and saying to yourself,
    ‘I am, and there is none besides me.
I will never be a widow
    or suffer the loss of children.’
Both of these will overtake you
    in a moment, on a single day:
    loss of children and widowhood.
They will come upon you in full measure,
    in spite of your many sorceries
    and all your potent spells.
10 You have trusted in your wickedness
    and have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
    when you say to yourself,
    ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’
11 Disaster will come upon you,
    and you will not know how to conjure it away.
A calamity will fall upon you
    that you cannot ward off with a ransom;
a catastrophe you cannot foresee
    will suddenly come upon you.

12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells
    and with your many sorceries,
    which you have labored at since childhood.
Perhaps you will succeed,
    perhaps you will cause terror.
13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!
    Let your astrologers come forward,
those stargazers who make predictions month by month,
    let them save you from what is coming upon you.
14 Surely they are like stubble;
    the fire will burn them up.
They cannot even save themselves
    from the power of the flame.
These are not coals for warmth;
    this is not a fire to sit by.
15 That is all they are to you—
    these you have dealt with
    and labored with since childhood.
All of them go on in their error;
    there is not one that can save you.

Go Deeper

The Babylonian religion was best-known for its polytheistic (“many gods”) system, and recognized thousands of gods including astral deities (v. 13) associated with heavenly bodies (sun god, moon god, morning and evening gods). There was even a god of sin. It was believed that these gods were present in their idols much like a king would reside in the palace. Throughout the Bible, Babylon is regarded as wicked, even engaging in child sacrifice. Nevertheless, God allowed Babylon to invade Israel, and He used Babylon as His instrument to punish Israel for Israel’s many sins.  

 Unfortunately, when Babylon invaded Israel, the Babylonians were unmerciful, even treating the elderly harshly (v. 6). They behaved this way because they were arrogant (v. 8). They mistakenly believed no one was comparable to them and that they were above calamity. The New English Translation says it this way: “You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me’” (v. 10). 

 Regarding punishment, we must always remember that God is a God of mercy. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and often delays His judgments in the hope of repentance. God desires “all people to be saved” (even the Babylonians!) and to have “knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). When God acts in judgment, it often upsets human values so people can more easily see their circumstances from a divine perspective and establish a proper sense of values. 

Even though God used the Babylonian Empire to discipline the Israelites, He does not ignore the bad behavior of the Babylonians. God the Father will rebuke and correct us out of His love for us, but like the Israelites and the Babylonians, we get to decide how we respond to God’s discipline. Proverbs 12:1 teaches us that, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” In Proverbs 3:11-12 we read, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” God’s discipline is rooted in His love. He wants us to be more like Him because we are His children. Hebrews 12:11 encourages us to remember the fruit of discipline which is “a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” If we take God’s discipline seriously, we will not only find God’s mercy, but also righteousness and peace in abundance! 



  1. What does this chapter of Isaiah teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity? 
  2. In what ways do you feel God has disciplined you? 
  3. What were the positive benefits of that discipline? 

A Quote

“The author of Hebrews readily admits that discipline is painful (Heb. 10:11). But He also assures us it is profitable. It produces ‘a harvest of righteousness and peace.’ The purpose of God’s discipline is not to punish us but to transform us. He has already meted out punishment for our sins on Jesus at Calvary: ‘The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him’ (Isaiah 53:5). But we must be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. That is the purpose of discipline.”–Jerry Bridges

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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 47”

  1. Today I’m reflecting on the talents, abilities, & gifts the Potter has divinely crafted into the fabric of each life. He did so with intention & purpose to bring glory to himself and to be a blessing to others. Not for a moment are we to exalt ourselves above another, but thoughtfully use our abilities to make much of him. Truthfully, apart from keeping our eyes on Christ, we tend to squander our talents seeking power & pleasure. Life is not a competition but a divine invitation to renew our minds and join the greatest rescue mission of mankind. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him may not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16).

  2. These verses also serve as a warning to us because we, too, are Babylon. How often do we lounge in our security, focused on our own circumstances, and mistakenly rely on ourselves for decisions? Or we look to worldly wisdom to solve spiritual situations? It’s exhausting! And ineffective.
    Verse 13 warns us ” All the counsel you have received has only worn you out!

    God is so good and so wants the best for us that He warns us of the outcomes for our poor choices. Seeking guidance and security in the things of this broken world will end in exhaustion and perpetuate pain.

    But God.

    God offers us divine discernment through the Holy Spirit and lavish love through Jesus Christ that overcomes all the brokenness, exhaustion, and fear.

  3. We are all wayward children who want and desire to be given direction. From the beginning with humanity it was so. God gave rules to be followed, they were broken and thus the sin pattern set into motion. All through the Bible people ask for guidance, God gave that guidance and again wayward we went. It is a part of our “nature”. BUT GOD gave us a new opportunity through Jesus Christ to be able to put off the old and put on the new “nature” with His Holy Spirit help. Once again it is a chose and freedom of will but more available than the Old Testament guys had it. God has given us now just a few rules to follow. Through that putting off and renewing of our minds, with Holy Spirit guiding us minute by minute we can do all things through Christ. We still constantly ask for guidance about life but as a believer we need to be getting that from the Word of God and other likeminded believers who pray with you about that guidance. God is so good to us!!!

    Thank You God for Your Word and guidance through this wilderness of life. Thank You for believing people that surround me and pray with and for me. Thank You for when I do know the right path for said guidance that I just follow it and You without trying to rearrange it or help where there should be no help. Thank You for when You give me people to pray for and with that I can hear and say Your words to make those prayers more effectual. vs 9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:9-12, ESV). in Jesus name amen

  4. Well, it’s reassuring to read that those who don’t even serve God, will know of God, before they leave this earth. That they, thinking they have won and conquered the battle on their own strength—with their false gods, will one day meet the true Redeemer of Israel v4. God may allow the evilness of people to be used for His will, but they, too, will be disciplined. (Romans 12:19 Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.)
    I believe we all have been guilty of saying or living as v8,10 …”when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’” Maybe not in those exact words, but we have relied on self, and our control of things, as our god. Can arrogance be an idol? I think so…
    We live(d) as “none one sees me” in the darkness. But, light—true light—shines the brightest at the darkest moments. (think about how the stars are more brighter/visible during a new moon) We cannot hide from the Light. John 1:5

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