Isaiah 13-17: Wrath for the Wicked Means Compassion for the Chosen

Isaiah 13 chronicles the wrath of God that is to be poured out against Babylon. He comes with an army and weapons of indignation (13:4-5). He will cause them such anguish that they become like a woman in labor (13:8). God will shake the heavens with His wrath against them (13:13). THey will be utterly destroyed for their godlessness. Then, at the beginning of chapter 14, God tells them why they will be the recipients of such terrible wrath. He says:

For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

Wrath will be poured out on Babylon, SO THAT Israel will receive compassion. Is that not a sweet picture of the gospel? It brings to mind the first verses of Romans 8:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. mBy sending his own Son nin the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Sin was condemned that God’s chosen ones might receive mercy. Jesus bore that terrible wrath against sin in His very own flesh so that we might be freed to live by the Spirit. When we read passages like Isaiah 13, we may be tempted to think of God as vindictive and cruel and unfair, but His wrath is meant to bring about peace for those who trust in Him. We do not need to be afraid of the Lord if we have put our hope in Him. He shows compassion on us because our sins have been paid in full. There is no condemnation for us, only compassion.

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