This oracle completes the ten oracles that God has given to different nations and these nations suffered consequences from God because of their sins. In each scenario God was trying to show His people to not trust in certain nations or people but to only place their faith and trust in Him. God is sovereign over all the nations and even in their evil deeds God is using them to fulfill His purposes which is mainly to draw people to Himself. (John 12:32)
Our lives are dependent on God but many times we think that our own success and accomplishments belong to us. Today we will see another couple of cities that will receive their message of doom even though they think they are indestructible. Doom: : to make certain the failure or destruction of (Webster’s Dictionary)The city Tyre represents not only an actual city but also mankind striving against God This section of scripture is written poetically and must be dealt with accordingly but it will show us the things we need to learn to avoid being doomed by God.
Isaiah 23:1-7 The oracle concerning Tyre.
Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without
house or harbor! From the land of Cyprus[a] it is revealed to them. 2 Be still, O
inhabitants of the coast; the merchants of Sidon, who cross
the sea, have filled you. 3 And on many waters
your revenue was the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile; you were the merchant of the nations. 4 Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying:
“I have neither labored nor given birth, I have neither reared young men nor brought up young women.” 5 When the report comes to Egypt, they will be in anguish[b] over the report about Tyre.
6 Cross over to Tarshish; wail, O inhabitants of the coast! 7 Is this your exultant city whose origin is from days of old, whose feet carried her to settle far away?
1) Doomed because of Wealth and Wisdom
Tyre and Sidon were wealthy cities because Phoenician ships were paid richly to carry Egyptian grain to markets in foreign lands. This was a nation that had everything going for it and lived lavishly simply because of their location. When you buy a house or property they say Location, Location, Location because Location of your house or business can determine how it does financially. This city benefited greatly because they were in the right place at the right time and it was a city that had the nightlife and all the things the world would consider to be exciting so people were drawn to it. They were a pagan nation with a King so bad that Ezekiel compares him to Satan. (Ezekiel 28) and they were known as Baal worshipers and for putting God’s people into slavery (Amos 1:9) The book of Ezekiel gives us a glimpse of the beauty of the city and the expenses it went to be a city that was more wonderous than any other city.
Ezekiel 27:1-4 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, 3 and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God: “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’ 4 Your borders are in the heart of the seas; your builders made perfect your beauty.
This would have been a sight to see with every detail of the city being lavishly done and it would be a city that other cities would covet with its wealth and wisdom. The King of Tyre thought himself to be a god because things were so great within the city (Ezekiel 28) and just like many people today think that they are the reason for their own success so Tyre thought that it was because of themselves that they were the way they were.
Luke 12:15-21 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
The people in Tyre were living their lives as if the money and the possessions were going to keep coming their way not knowing that doom was right around the corner. The port and the city will be destroyed and ships will no longer be able to come and dock their ships and trade their goods. This will not only affect them but it will affect others as well and cause them pain because their income will now be affected. Isaiah shows them the pain that will be caused by saying, “The ships would cry”
Relying on their own wealth and wisdom blinded them from seeing or seeking after God. Wealth and wisdom can be dangerous because although they are given by God for us to use for His purposes it can cause us to put our trust in our own resources rather than in Him.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 7 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Their wealth and wisdom were corrupting them without them realizing it and success has a way of making us think we are something more than we are and to forget the one who gave us the abilities and resources. Christians believe that God has given us resources to manage (Matthew 25) and we are not to hoard those resources for just our own pleasure or our own gain.
Isaiah 23:8-14 Who has purposed this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?9 The Lord of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory,[c] to dishonor all the honored of the earth. 10 Cross over your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish; there is no restraint anymore. 11 He has stretched out his hand over the sea; he has shaken the kingdoms; the Lord has given command concerning Canaan to destroy its strongholds. 12 And he said: “You will no more exult, O oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon; arise, cross over to Cyprus, even there you will have no rest.” 13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not;[d] Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin. 14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for your stronghold is laid waste.
2) Doomed because of God
Who has purposed this? The Lord of hosts has purposed it. Everyone will try and figure out why the collapse happened but God will make it clear that He is the reason all of this took place.
“Randomness, luck, chance, fate. This is modern man’s answer to the age-old question, “WhY?” Of course, if one dismisses the whole idea of God, as many do, then there is no other alternative. (Trusting God by Jerry Bridges, PG 17)
Psalm 33:10-11 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
God will bring them low because of their arrogance of what they thought was their own doing and it was a reminder to the people of God that they should only put their hope in Him or meet the same fate. The people who were praised by the world would be rejected by God. Christians we have to evaluate all of life through the sovereign hands of God even when we do not understand His purposes or even when we have no clue why God would allow such a thing to happen.
“Yahweh has stretched out His hand” It is a sign of judgment when God raises His hand and with it doom is going to happen. All the well-fortified cities were destroyed by battering rams and all the hopes of their defenses were destroyed.
Isaiah 14:27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?
We need to be careful to not buy into the world’s logic and know that sometimes God is acting in ways we do not understand. We must be careful to not just assign the good things that happen to us or the world as from God but also the things we do not fully understand.
Isaiah 23:15-18 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days[e] of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: 16 “Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.
3) Doomed for the purpose of Repentance
We can see one purpose God used in all of this and it was getting people to turn to Him. For seventy years it will be in decline which is usually the average span of a king or the life of a man, but then they will come back to life as a trading place, not as successful as they were in the past, but they would eventually be changed to bring glory to God. Instead of hoarding their money they will generously give to the temple of God to support those who are doing the work of God and the City that was known for selfish living will be known for being generous
How can what I do bring glory to God? Chick- Fil-A has a motto that says, “to glorify God by being faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” Through corporate profits they have opened long term foster homes throughout the Southern United states which has allowed kids to grow up with parents , the means to go to college, and Truett Cathy insisted on fund matching for their first car. They run summer camps and have given away millions of dollars in scholarships for college and they started a marriage enrichment retreat at Berry College. Business is just a tool the problem is when we become consumers instead of managers of what God has given us and this applies to more than just money because we all have been given gifts to be used for the sake of others as well. God will get your attention and unfortunately, He uses difficult circumstances for people to realize they cannot put their hope into their own wisdom and wealth. God is calling all of us to realize that He is the one who gives the wealth and we are not to look at what we have as if it was our wisdom and ingenuity that gained it.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Matthew 6:24 says we cannot serve two masters , either God or money and so we need to keep our focus so God does not have to get our attention and turn our hearts from our material possessions back toward Himself Let us not get consumed by the things we have been given by God to use for His purposes and become wise in our own eyes. (Isaiah 5:21)