Saturday, February 3, 2018

The pride of cities

In our Bible Reading Plan we'd read Isaiah 23. In it, was Isaiah's prophecy against Tyre. Tyre was a major city on the coast, to which many ships from afar brought their goods to trade and sell. Tyre was held in high esteem by all around. (Isaiah 23:8). It had prestige and renown.

Is this your exultant city whose origin is from days of old, whose feet carried her to settle far away? 8Who has purposed this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth? 9The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to defile the pompous pride of all glory,c to dishonor all the honored of the earth
. (Isaiah 23:7-9)

When a city becomes so vaunted, the leaders of the city become proud. Hence the reason for Isaiah's oracle against Tyre. (Isaiah 23:9). They attributed their success and fame to themselves, and not to God.

This situation reminded me of the scene in Daniel 4. King Nebuchadnezzar displayed the same problem.

and the king answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).

He attributed the city of Babylon's success and fame to himself, and not to God. For his selfish boastfulness and pride, God determined to remove the kingdom from Nebuchadnezzar for 7 years, wherein he would live among beasts as a mad person and eat the grass of the field. When 7 years was over, God restored reason to the king and also the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar praised God for all His glory.

When we see the glittering towers of the city, its cathedrals, towers, strongholds, and castles, we tend to become proud of our accomplishment in building them. We admire the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the Sears Tower, the Windsor Castle, the Taj Mahal... We enlarge our sea ports and construct airports and enjoy the trade and commerce merchants willingly bring to the city.

We applaud man's ingenuity in building these majestic buildings, we love the fame and renown these landmarks bring to the city and we become boastful inhabitants. But we forget that we have no strength of our own, and no intellect, or ability unless God grants it.

Tyre was razed in 332 BC when Alexander the Great conquered it. And Babylon, we know was felled in one night as described in Jeremiah 51:8 and Daniel 5:30.

If a prophet were to prophesy today, what oracle might be spoken about New York City? Los Angeles? Paris? London? Ezekiel 38:20 prophesies a future day when all walls will crumble to the ground. This page shows how many times God said He will destroy a city for its pride and rebellion. We know He destroyed four Cities of the Plain in one night, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim.

The end result of pride, is destruction. This is reiterated in the New Testament, in today's reading of Matthew 11. There is a section between verses 20-24 called "Woe to Unrepentant Cities" such as Chorazin, Bethsaida, Tyre, Sidon, and Capernaum.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18). The verse applies to cities as well. The Isaiah verse we'd read yesterday is warning about this.

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