Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 32.31
31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“ ‘Come out of her, my people,’
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
5 for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.
6 Give back to her as she has given;
pay her back double for what she has done.
Pour her a double portion from her own cup.
7 Give her as much torment and grief
as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
Reflection: Come Out of Babylon
By John Tillman
During Christmastide, leading up to Epiphany, we consider the revelation of Jesus to the Gentile nations as the light of the world.
Part of the Revelation of Christ’s Kingdom is the revelation of the sinful darkness of the kingdoms we live in. Part of why Christ comes is to rescue. Wickedness will be stripped and torn down. But whoever is willing to be saved, can be pulled out, picked up, raptured from the clutching darkness of the world.
Babylon thought itself to be a light to the world and today’s empires think the same. Do we, as Christians from around the world, think of our own nations in this way?
Many of us seem to. Many Christians are more enthusiastic evangelists for political or economic systems than the gospel. For some Christians, political parties have become our true religion. Some think of our nation as “The Kingdom of God” instead of God’s worldwide church. This is what Babylon does. It replaces the worship of God with the worship of nation, tribe, and self.
Over and over, Babylon shows up as a test. God’s people fail and they fail and they fail. If we think we might fare differently, we are already too prideful.
Hezekiah was one of the greatest kings of Judah. His downfall began by pridefully entertaining powerful visitors from Babylon, even showing them the Temple and its decorations. All that he showed them, including his own children, would soon be stolen, destroyed, or enslaved by Babylon.
In Revelation, John records a call from Heaven for God’s people to “come out” of Babylon. This mirrors the call to Lot’s family to come out of Sodom. Even knowing that destruction was coming, Lot’s family clung with longing to the city they were a part of. They had to be taken, grasped, pulled by the hand to leave. Lot’s daughters had to leave behind their promised husbands, who laughed off Lot’s invitation to salvation. (Genesis 19.14-16)
“Come out of her,” Christ cries. “Don’t look back longingly,” warns the angel of the Lord…
Babylon is a test of the heart. We can become entangled in Babylon and engaged to Sodom. How wedded to Sodom and Babylon are we?
No nation should have a grip on our heart greater than the gracious kingdom of our Christ.
Come quickly, O Christ. Grasp our hands, Lord, and lead us out.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Be seated on your lofty throne, O Most High; O Lord, judge the nations. — Psalm 7.8
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
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