Scripture Focus: Isaiah 14.3, 26-27
3 On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: 
How the oppressor has come to an end! 
How his fury has ended! 

26 This is the plan determined for the whole world; 
this is the hand stretched out over all nations. 
27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? 
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? 

Reflection: Taunting Ourselves
By John Tillman

God promises those who suffer under oppression that one day he will turn the tables and they will taunt those who harmed them.

Isaiah taunts specific oppressors such as Babylon, Assyria, and the Philistines. God expands these taunts to include the whole world—any nation taking up the spirit of Babylon. There are still nations of this kind today and some of us may live in them. We should be careful not to take up Isaiah’s taunts too quickly—we may end up taunting ourselves.

Babylon considered itself the ultimate pinnacle of human achievement. They felt they deserved to wield ultimate power because of their ultimate enlightenment. They considered themselves the light of the world and a provider of peace. Babylonian exceptionalism was part of their core belief system.

Babylon’s utopian self-concept was a lie. Their definition of peace was murdering anyone who resisted them. Their definition of achievement was enslaving the smartest people from other nations and re-educating them to serve the empire. Their definition of light was snuffing out the gods of other nations and absorbing them.

In the Bible, Babylon is both a literal kingdom and a figurative representation of all human opposition to God. When God said, “I will wipe out Babylon’s name and survivors, her offspring and descendants,” he wasn’t speaking literally of human offspring. He spoke of nations who would follow the spirit of Babylon, to succeed her, ascend her throne, and continue her prideful destruction of the weak. 

Babylon’s highest value is ultimate autonomy and unrestricted freedom—at least for the powerful. Many pursue ultimate autonomy today as well. The dirty little secret of ultimate autonomy is that it only exists for those willing to take it by force or those privileged enough to have it handed to them.

The spirit of Babylon is not only adopted by nations or people groups. Individuals adopt it too. Has the spirit of Babylon taken over any part of our hearts?

Babylon disdains God’s demands for righteousness and justice.
Babylon rejects God’s definitions of sin and holiness.
Babylon honors the brutal and brutalizes the gentle.
Babylon protects the powerful rather than the weak. 
Babylon uses freedom to harm others.

One day we will taunt Babylon, but first, we must come out from among her. Let us root out Babylon’s influences in our own lives and hearts.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Morning Psalm
Wait upon the Lord and keep his way; he will raise you up to possess the land, and when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
I have seen the wicked in their arrogance, flourishing like a tree in full leaf.
I went by, and behold, they were not there; I searched for them, but they could not be found.
Mark those who are honest; observe the upright; for there is a future for the peaceable.
Transgressors shall be destroyed, one and all; the future of the wicked is cut off.
But the deliverance of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord will help them and rescue them; he will rescue them from the wicked and deliver them, because they seek refuge in him. — Psalm 37.36-42

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Isaiah 14 (Listen 5:04)
Acts 3 (Listen 3:33)

Read more about Waiting at the Beautiful Gate
Jesus didn’t give us the Holy Spirit for warm, fuzzy feelings in our sanctuaries. The Holy Spirit is given to us to heal

Read more about The Fall of a Superpower
Babylon embraced idolatry and morality that was contrary to the law of God…it’s important to realize we share in the same sinful nature