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EXPOSITORY NOTES ON
THE PROPHET ISAIAH
Harry A. Ironside, Litt.D.
Copyright @ 1952
edited for 3BSB by Baptist Bible Believer in the spirit of the Colportage ministry of a century ago
ISAIAH CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN
THE DOWNFALL OF BABYLON
"Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man. As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms" (verses 1-5).
IN THE first part of this book we drew attention to the fact that Babylon was the very fountainhead of idolatry. According to the best records idolatry began there. A famous book, The Two Babylons, (by Alexander Hislop) gives the details and proofs of this.
Babylon, by her sorceries, her enchantments, is said to have bewitched the nations. Nation after nation followed her in the practice of idolatry. She was called, "The Lady of Kingdoms"; her wealth, and her culture surpassed those of any nation around her. But GOD, looking far ahead to the time when Cyrus and his army would come against her, says, "Thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms" (vs. 5).
The day was coming when she would be stripped and laid bare, all her treasures destroyed, and everything taken away from her, when GOD would prove that her idols had absolutely no power, but His word should stand. He speaks of her folly in turning for confidence to the star-gazers, the astrologers, the monthly prognosticators.
"Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at,
nor fire to sit before it. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander everyone to his quarter; none shall save thee" (verses 12-15).
Wherever people turn away from the one, true and living GOD and refuse the Word of GOD, they are always ready to turn to other things. It has been characteristic down through the centuries that when men, great leaders, gave up confidence in GOD and His Word they readily became the prey of all sorts of charlatans. Even the infamous Hitler had a special astrologer whom he consulted as to lucky and unlucky days, and suitable times to attack nations. He consulted the map of the stars to see what was indicated. That began at Babylon. Centuries ago they had their astrologers, their star-gazers.
An astrologer and an astronomer must not be confused. Astronomy is an exact science, astrology is a fraud, a fake. Yet how many people give heed to it. Many of our newspapers contain astrologers' reports from month to month, and people are foolish enough to believe them. Some of the greatest operators on the Market in New York City, I have been credibly informed, when it comes to making big deals never do a thing without consulting an astrologer. Men still believe in these worse than follies. They turn away from the Word of the living GOD to turn unto fables.
While in Los Angeles years ago I went down one day on the electric line to Long Beach, just to have a little relaxation on a Saturday. I was all worn out with so many meetings and I had hardly taken my seat when a Bulgarian gypsy came along in a red dress with some spangles across her brow, and long braids of black hair. She sat right down beside me, and took my hand.
Then she said, "Gentleman-gentleman - you cross my palm with silver- 25 cents - I tell you past, present, future. I am seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. I born with a veil on. I can tell all mysteries."
I said, grabbing her by the hand, "Well, it isn't really necessary - because I've had that all told already."
"But oh!" she said, "I am expert - I know very exact - past, present, future."
"Yes, but I got it from an expert - I have it here in a little book." And I pulled out, with my other hand, my New Testament and turned to the second chapter of the book of the Ephesians. I said, "Here, I've got my past, present and future. Here's the past: 'You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according . . . to the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.'"
"Oh, what is that, a Bible? I got the wrong man. I got the wrong man. Let go."
"No," I said, "I won't let go, I didn't ask you to come down here and take hold of me. Now that I've got you, you're going to stay here. Now I'll give you the rest of it.
Now I'll give you my present: 'But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ . . .
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.' - That's my present."
"That's all right. That's all right. I've got enough. Good-bye."
I said, "Wait a minute. I haven't given you it all yet. Now," I said, "here's my future: 'That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.'"
"Yes, gentleman - I've got enough," and she gave such a pull she was gone. And down the car she went saying, "I got the wrong man - I got the wrong man."
A passenger in a railroad train one day was reading his Bible when a dapper-looking gentleman came along, looked at it and said, "Oh, reading the Bible? Do you believe the Bible? I didn't think that any educated people believed in the Bible any more. You look like a cultured man, and I'm surprised that you're reading that. I believe the day will soon come when people will no more believe in the Bible than they believe in ghosts and witches, like our forefathers."
"My friend," remarked the Bible-reading gentleman, "when people reach the place where they do not believe in the Bible any more, they believe in witches and ghosts again."
That is true. How many have turned away from the Word of GOD to Spiritism and Theosophy and other occult systems that profess to have to do with the dead. That is Babylonianism, come right down through the centuries.
GOD has judged it all and He puts it all, as it were, to one side. "Why do men need this? Here am I, infinite in wisdom, power and might, and ready in grace to reveal Myself to the man who seeks My face."
~ end of chapter 47 ~
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 47". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13