Ezekiel 26-27, “Time to Flatten Tyre”
Never say never. There are some things we believe can never happen, and the moment we become absolutely firm in our certainty seems to usually become the moment we are proven wrong. By & large, Americans believed that we could never be attacked on our own soil, until Pearl Harbor occurred. We believed it again, and then experienced 9/11. Britons who once experienced a time when the sun never set on its empire eventually found the United Kingdom shrinking dramatically, with a vastly reduced influence in the world. Never say never, because eventually the “never” arrives.
Such was the case with the ancient city of Tyre. Today we think very little of Tyre, perhaps knowing it from David’s & Solomon’s interaction with the city in regards to building the Jerusalem temple. When we think of ancient cities of influence, we most likely remember places like Babylon, Alexandria, or Rome, etc. Within that list ought to be the ancient city of Tyre. It had wealth and influence that was unrivaled at one point, and yet is no more. Those who thought that Tyre would never fade found the “never” coming to pass.
What happened? In short, they boasted against Jerusalem. They rejoiced in Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon, and that did not go unnoticed by the Lord. He acted in defense of His people, and when God acts, things happen. The Bible makes it clear that God resists the proud, while He gives grace to the humble. Tyre is a supreme case example of what happens to those who are proud: they get flattened by the righteous judgment of God.
Remember the context: Ezekiel had received numerous prophecies from God regarding his own people of the Jews. God knew their sins, detailed them out (particularly that of idolatry), and declared His coming judgment upon them. By the time Ch. 24 began, Babylon had begun its final siege against Jerusalem, and the people would feel the heat of His wrath. Yet just because God was judging Judah didn’t mean that He ignored the sins of other nations – particularly those nations that surrounded Judah and gloated over their downfall. Four of those neighboring nations were addressed in Ch. 25, but God takes an extended look at Tyre starting in Ch. 26.
Ezekiel 26 – The Proclamation
1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’
- Although Ezekiel gives us a bit of a timeframe here, it’s not nearly as specific as what was given in 24:1. The last timestamp showed the prophecy given on the precise starting date of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem – this one is a bit more vague. It seems to be the following year, and although it came on the first day of the month, Ezekiel never identifies which month it was. Considering Jerusalem fell in July of 586BC, perhaps it was the first day of the month following the conquest.
- Whenever it was, that’s when God’s attention turned to the city-state of Tyre. Tyre was a city-state north of Israel on the Mediterranean coast (within modern-day Lebanon). It was comprised of two basic cities: one on the mainland itself, and another on an island about a ½ mile from shore. It was there a fortress was built, and over time, a permanent bridge was built connecting the two. Today it basically appears as a small peninsula jutting out from the Lebanese coastland. It was inhabited by seafaring people, and that turned Tyre into commercial giant. Although it didn’t rule over massive empires the size of Egypt, Assyria, or Babylon, it did become extremely powerful & colonized many areas in the ancient world. By some accounts, it was the most important of all the cities in Phoenicia, and there was virtually no corner of the ancient world surrounding the Mediterranean where Tyre did not have commercial relations.
- What happened? As earlier generations might say, “they got too big for their britches.” Although they already had plenty of wealth, Tyre gloated over Jerusalem’s fall, believing that Jerusalem’s trial would turn to Tyre’s benefit. They didn’t see the suffering of their former trade partners; they saw a new business opportunity. If Jerusalem suffered, all the better for them – after all, there was profit to be made. Although they worshipped other gods, the true God took notice, and He took action.
- As was seen in Ch. 25, this goes back to the ancient covenant God made with Abraham: Genesis 12:2–3, "(2) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." If Tyre had blessed Israel, mourned over her & prayed for her, no doubt the response of God would have been vastly different. As it was, Tyre rejoiced over Jerusalem’s brokenness, and God would act in response.
- It behooves nations to bless Israel! Just yesterday at his farewell address to the United Nations, President Obama said regarding the warfare between Israel and its enemies that the conflict is basically inevitable until “Israel recognizes it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.” Regardless where you stand politically, this statement is absolutely unbiblical. The land was given by God to Israel, and to dismiss Israel from her right to defend herself is to invite upon our nation the judgment of God. The United States has historically been Israel’s greatest ally – it would do us well do be an ally once again.
- Message #1 (3-6)
3 “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. 4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. 5 It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations. 6 Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.’
- Tyre was against Jerusalem; now God is against Tyre. He promised to act, and to act violently. There are two basic pictures here. The first is that of drowning in the waves. Waves coming up over an island city is pretty descriptive & frightening – but that is how God describes the nations that will attack it. The other picture is that of dust-scraping & being that of being “like the top of a rock,” which would be recognized by a fishing community as something that is only useful for drying nets. What makes that significant for Tyre is that the word “Tyre” (צֹר ) also means flint, rock, or pebble. The city that once considered itself so strong would be scraped barren, and left as nothing. All of her prosperity would be stripped away – all of her “daughter villages” (colonies) would be conquered. Everything mighty about this city of Tyre would be lost.
- The result? The same as God so often said of Israel regarding His judgment: “Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” This would be a witness unto God.
- Message #2 (7-14)
7 “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. 8 He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. 9 He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.
- God so aptly prophesies the siege that was to come from Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Remember that Babylon did not conquer only Jerusalem – it conquered almost the entirety of the Middle East! In regards to Tyre, history tells us that Nebuchadnezzar engaged in a 13 year long siege of the city, which ended in Tyre’s surrender, basically becoming a vassal state to Babylon.
- Biblically, what we see is God’s incredible omniscience at work. Ezekiel most likely wrote this just shortly after the end of Babylon’s siege of Jerusalem, and already he is able to write with astounding accuracy concerning the (then) future siege of Tyre. God knows the beginning & the end, and His predictions always come true to the letter!
- That said, God’s predictions don’t always come true in the way we might expect. God goes on with the prophecy of Tyre’s fall, but there is a minor change which might imply a major difference. Vs. 10…
10 Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water.
- Did you notice the change in the 3rd person of the entity that conquered Tyre? In vss. 7-9, it is “he,” i.e., Nebuchadnezzar. In vss. 10-12, it is “they” – 3rd person plural. Although we cannot draw a hard & fast line here (the 3rd person singular is used as well: “he enters your gates…he will trample…he will slay”), it does introduce the possibility of a change in person. Historically speaking, that would fit extremely well. How so? Although Nebuchadnezzar did defeat Tyre, he did not utterly destroy it. They entered into an agreement with Tyre being a servant of Babylon. However, in 332BC, Alexander the Great did destroy Tyre, coming against it so hard that the language in vss. 10-12 fits perfectly.
- When looking at Bible prophecy, it’s important to keep in mind near & future fulfillment, which is sometimes illustrated as “the mountain peaks of prophecy.” When looking at a mountain range from a distance, all the peaks look close together although the reality may have them separated by many miles each. A similar thing can happen in Bible prophecy. Several future events might be described in one prophetic statement – all looking to be close together from the viewpoint of the prophet, but separated by many years in the viewpoint of history.
- Even if this is a reference to only Babylon, it could still be explained by the loss of Tyre’s influence and prosperity. Either way, the description is that of the people of the city being completely overwhelmed & overrun. What would be the result? Tyre would fall – it would come to the harshest of ends. Vs. 13…
13 I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. 14 I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken,’ says the Lord GOD.
- God reiterates their destruction, again describing them as being scraped bare. He also prophesies that the city would never again “be rebuilt.” Objection: “How can this be true? There was a city of Tyre in the days of Jesus (Mt 15:21), and there is a city of Tyre today!” True. So God was wrong? False. The empire was gone – the influence was gone – and more importantly, the original city was never rebuilt. Yes, there is a city in the same area bearing the same name, but the city that was destroyed was left in ruins, and it can be seen to this day. The modern city might be in the background, but the foundations of the original city were left barren – exactly as the Lord God proclaimed.
- Again, God’s promises might not come true in the ways we initially expect, but they always come true. God always keeps His word, without exception.
- Message #3 (15-18)
15 “Thus says the Lord GOD to Tyre: ‘Will the coastlands not shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded cry, when slaughter is made in the midst of you? 16 Then all the princes of the sea will come down from their thrones, lay aside their robes, and take off their embroidered garments; they will clothe themselves with trembling; they will sit on the ground, tremble every moment, and be astonished at you. 17 And they will take up a lamentation for you, and say to you: “How you have perished, O one inhabited by seafaring men, O renowned city, Who was strong at sea, She and her inhabitants, Who caused their terror to be on all her inhabitants! 18 Now the coastlands tremble on the day of your fall; Yes, the coastlands by the sea are troubled at your departure.” ’
- Everyone will notices the fall of Tyre & be astonished. The fallen city will serve as an example to the nations of what happens to a people who curse the people of God. This is a theme that will be repeated in the next chapter.
- What makes this so bad? Why would the nations tremble in this way? Because if it could happen to Tyre, it could happen to any of them. If Tyre could fall, any nation could fall.
- Message #4 (19-21)
19 “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘When I make you a desolate city, like cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you, 20 then I will bring you down with those who descend into the Pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lowest part of the earth, in places desolate from antiquity, with those who go down to the Pit, so that you may never be inhabited; and I shall establish glory in the land of the living. 21 I will make you a terror, and you shall be no more; though you are sought for, you will never be found again,’ says the Lord GOD.”
- The picture here is frightening – especially to a nation that was as seafaring as that of Tyre. Not only did God promise to personally come against the city in violence (emphasizing that this was God’s work; not Babylon’s), but the idea is that God would drown the island city, dragging them into the Mediterranean Sea & ultimately down to Hell. …
- Is it violent? Yes. Terrifying? Without question. Does it glorify God? Without a doubt, yes. The destruction of Tyre will be used by God to “establish glory in the land of the living.” Tyre’s destruction will glorify God. Although we tremble to think upon it, it is true. God is glorified in His judgment. God is glorified in His wrath. How else would His wrath be satisfied, unless He is glorified in it? When we praise God for the cross of Jesus, are we not acknowledging that God is glorified in His wrath? After all, it was His wrath He poured out on Jesus, for our sake. He was because Jesus suffered and died that you & I can be forgiven. And that glorifies God! Everything God does serves to give Him glory, and that surely includes His judgment of those who have sinned against Him & end up going to hell because of their refusal to receive Christ. God is glorified, even in that.
- That’s not to say we take joy in the concept & reality of Hell – but we can certainly rejoice in God’s ultimate justice. We can praise Him for His perfect purity & righteousness. We can thank Him that all sin will one day find its answer. And most personally, we can thank Him that for us, the answer has already been given in Christ Jesus! If Jesus had not glorified God by suffering His wrath, none of us would be saved.
Ezekiel 27 – The Lamentation
1 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, 2 “Now, son of man, take up a lamentation for Tyre, 3 and say to Tyre, ‘You who are situated at the entrance of the sea, merchant of the peoples on many coastlands, thus says the Lord GOD: “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
- Question: “Why sing a song of lamentation? Isn’t God glorified in Tyre’s destruction?” Absolutely He is. But that doesn’t mean He enjoyed doling out their punishment. They had to be punished, but it would have been so much better to see them forgiven! In regards to Israel, Ezekiel 18:23, "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?" What God desired with Israel, He desires for the whole world. As Peter writes, God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pt 3:9) God is glorified in the outpouring of His justice, but He is also glorified in the outpouring of His love. He would have rather seen Tyre repent & be saved. (Just like for any of us!) But because they weren’t willing to do so, they would be punished. And for that, God had Ezekiel lift up a song of lament for them.
- Structurally, there’s a song – a break – and a song again. There is a poetic picture of a beautiful ship – a break where the symbolism ceases and God describes the commercial success of Tyre among the nations – and finally a renewal of the song where the ship is seen sinking. There are a multitude of cities and regions listed, underscoring how vast the influence of Tyre was. There isn’t a corner of the ancient world where they were not known. Although the contexts surrounding those cities can be rather vague to the modern reader, they were certainly known to Ezekiel’s original audience. It was Who’s Who of the ancient world, and it showed how big of a player Tyre actually was.
- The lament begins with Tyre’s boasting. They had built themselves up in pride (no one more so than their king, and that’s the subject of Ch. 28). Instead of humbling themselves before God as the ultimate Beautiful One, they saw themselves as beautiful, and did everything they could to build up their own prosperity and reputation. In the end, all of it would come to nothing.
- The Ship (4 – 11)
4 Your borders are in the midst of the seas. Your builders have perfected your beauty. 5 They made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; They took a cedar from Lebanon to make you a mast. 6 Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars; The company of Ashurites have inlaid your planks With ivory from the coasts of Cyprus. 7 Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was what you spread for your sail; Blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah was what covered you.
- Senir is perhaps another name for Mount Hermon, which itself was in the region of Bashan in Lebanon. From there came the timber. The beautification of the lumber (the inlay) was performed by men from the heart of the Babylonian empire (the Ashurites), and the ivory they used was imported from Cyprus. Their sails were made from the finest of Egyptian linens & expensive dyed fabrics came from Elishah/Cyprus as well. The whole idea is the best of the best. Like the common refrain in “Jurassic Park,” “they spared no expense” in the symbolic ship of Tyre. It was beautiful vessel almost beyond compare.
- But it wasn’t just pretty to look at – it actually worked. Vs. 8…
8 “Inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your oarsmen; Your wise men, O Tyre, were in you; They became your pilots. 9 Elders of Gebal and its wise men Were in you to caulk your seams; All the ships of the sea And their oarsmen were in you To market your merchandise.
- This was a seaworthy ship! Those who propelled them forward came from cities in the surrounding region, while those in Tyre herself guided the vessel. Others from Lebanon ensured the seaworthiness of the vessel, caulking it well & doing whatever maintenance was required along the way. Everything they needed to go forth & sell their wares, they had. Nothing stopped them from acquiring incredible wealth.
- They were even protected along the way. Vs. 10…
10 “Those from Persia, Lydia, and Libya Were in your army as men of war; They hung shield and helmet in you; They gave splendor to you. 11 Men of Arvad with your army were on your walls all around, And the men of Gammad were in your towers; They hung their shields on your walls all around; They made your beauty perfect.
- Their soldiers were the best that money could buy, as they hired mercenaries from the furthest reaches of the world. But they weren’t all far-off strangers – some came from nearby Syria as well.
- The whole idea is Tyre was protected by men of every nation – yet even then it wasn’t enough. No matter who came to the defense of Tyre, they were not enough to stand against the will of God. The city may have been beautiful, wealthy, prosperous, and powerful – but is wasn’t powerful enough to take on God and prevail.
At this point, the symbolism takes a break & the bare facts begin. This almost reads like an entry out of a financial encyclopedia. If someone wanted to know what economic partnerships Tyre had, all they needed to do was to look here. Their fingers were all over the world in all kinds of merchandise. If it seems a bit overwhelming as we look at it, that’s because it is probably intended to be that way. God wanted Ezekiel’s readers to know exactly who this economic powerhouse was that He took down, and it just serves to remind us of how great our God actually is, in that He could do it.
- The Commercial Center (12-24)
12 “Tarshish was your merchant because of your many luxury goods. They gave you silver, iron, tin, and lead for your goods. 13 Javan, Tubal, and Meshech were your traders. They bartered human lives and vessels of bronze for your merchandise. 14 Those from the house of Togarmah traded for your wares with horses, steeds, and mules.
- One thing that becomes plain is that Tyre traded in the best of the best. They seemed to deal primarily in “luxury goods,” although they were wealthy in raw materials as well (i.e. “iron, tin, and lead”). Whatever you could imagine, it was for sale – be it livestock or “human lives.”
- This is not an affirmation of slavery; it’s just an acknowledgement of it. Slavery was wrong then just as it is today, and it is sadly far too common around the world & here in the US as well in the form of human sex trafficking.
15 The men of Dedan were your traders; many isles were the market of your hand. They brought you ivory tusks and ebony as payment. 16 Syria was your merchant because of the abundance of goods you made. They gave you for your wares emeralds, purple, embroidery, fine linen, corals, and rubies.
- Emphasizes the wealth and exotic payments that Tyre received. Be it jewels or ivory, if it had value, it could be traded.
17 Judah and the land of Israel were your traders. They traded for your merchandise wheat of Minnith, millet, honey, oil, and balm.
- Please note the inclusion of Judah and Israel among Tyre’s trading partners. They had a history that stretched back many generations (back to David & Solomon), and although their relationship had their ups & downs, they still maintained some form of trade through it all. One would think that Tyre would have grieved Jerusalem’s fall simply due to the loss of a customer! Yet even that didn’t matter. They showed no regard for the fall of the Jews, and that made their boast all the more callous.
18 Damascus was your merchant because of the abundance of goods you made, because of your many luxury items, with the wine of Helbon and with white wool. 19 Dan and Javan paid for your wares, traversing back and forth. Wrought iron, cassia, and cane were among your merchandise.
- Again, more variety of merchandise is seen. Everything from wine to iron to perfume and more – all of it for sale in Tyre.
- How far did their customer base extend? Even into Arabia in the south. Vs. 20…
20 Dedan was your merchant in saddlecloths for riding. 21 Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your regular merchants. They traded with you in lambs, rams, and goats. 22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah were your merchants. They traded for your wares the choicest spices, all kinds of precious stones, and gold. 23 Haran, Canneh, Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Assyria, and Chilmad were your merchants. 24 These were your merchants in choice items—in purple clothes, in embroidered garments, in chests of multicolored apparel, in sturdy woven cords, which were in your marketplace.
- After reading a list like that, there can be little doubt that Tyre was rich – influential – powerful! It was an incredibly important city in its day. Surely a city like that would last forever! Wrong. It may have had everything going for it, but it lacked one important ingredient: reverent fear of the one true God, along with any respect for His people. Thus God acted against them, and when He brought them down, He brought them down hard.
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking any nation is too big to be brought down by the Lord – not even ours! If God was willing to judge His own covenant people, how can any nation on earth think they are exempt from the judgment of God? It doesn’t matter what kind of military might or materialistic wealth a nation has – none of it can stand against His almighty will. The United States might be the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but any nation can be brought to its knees. Tyre was – so can we be.
The fall of Tyre is what is described next as God returns Ezekiel to the song of lamentation…
- The Shipwreck (25-36)
25 “The ships of Tarshish were carriers of your merchandise. You were filled and very glorious in the midst of the seas. 26 Your oarsmen brought you into many waters, But the east wind broke you in the midst of the seas.
- As already seen, Tyre had everything that they needed. Their ship of state was beautiful, strong, and already on the move. But then they were broken. They ran into the one thing they couldn’t control: the weather. They were broken by “the east wind.” And who is it that controls the wind? Almighty God. As He promised in 26:19, He Himself would bring the deep waters upon them. He brought the storm that would drown them & send them to the pit. God would break them.
- It’s been often observed that we can either be molded by God or broken by Him. In terms of a clay pot, we can remain soft in His hands, or else when we are hard He will break us when necessary. In terms of a ship, we can either be directed by God or overwhelmed by God. Tyre chose the latter. At any point they could have humbled themselves before the Lord in repentance – instead they chose to go it alone, and they failed.
27 “Your riches, wares, and merchandise, Your mariners and pilots, Your caulkers and merchandisers, All your men of war who are in you, And the entire company which is in your midst, Will fall into the midst of the seas on the day of your ruin. 28 The common-land will shake at the sound of the cry of your pilots.
- Everything was lost. In terms of the song, every item on board the ship & every sailor was lost at sea. In terms of history, all of the power, riches, and influence of Tyre was gone. It was all taken away, and the world bore witness to the fact.
29 “All who handle the oar, The mariners, All the pilots of the sea Will come down from their ships and stand on the shore. 30 They will make their voice heard because of you; They will cry bitterly and cast dust on their heads; They will roll about in ashes; 31 They will shave themselves completely bald because of you, Gird themselves with sackcloth, And weep for you With bitterness of heart and bitter wailing. 32 In their wailing for you They will take up a lamentation, And lament for you: ‘What city is like Tyre, Destroyed in the midst of the sea?
- Imagine how fast the news of Tyre’s fate spread. The picture is of all the people still on shore came out to the coast to mourn the sunken ship. Their own prosperity was wrapped up in Tyre – it was their own place of market, and they would feel the financial effects as well. They wept not only for Tyre, but for what they themselves had lost. They didn’t care about the injustice that took place because of Tyre; they just cared about the benefits they would have received through Tyre. Thus they mourned.
- Interestingly, there is another Biblical (and prophetic) event in which the nations of the world gather to mourn the destruction of a city that was financially important to them: the fall of future Babylon near the end of the Great Tribulation. In fact, it is described in much of the same kind of terminology: Revelation 18:15–19, "(15) The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, (16) and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! (17) For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance (18) and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’ (19) “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’" Is Tyre the same thing as future-Babylon? No. But does one prefigure the other? Perhaps. It just goes to show that the world doesn’t change. It has & will always care more about itself than the righteousness of God. Tyre boasted against God’s people; future Babylon will persecute them. What does the world mourn? Its loss of stuff – its loss of wealth.
- Thankfully during the days of the Great Tribulation, we will be with the Lord Jesus, having been taken by Him in the rapture. That said, we can still find ourselves getting caught up with the temptations of Babylon today. Be careful! Keep your priorities in perspective. Love God & love others – seek first His kingdom, and then let Him provide for you everything else you need. Be careful about getting sucked up into materialism & riches. Every bit of it will eventually come to an end.
33 ‘When your wares went out by sea, You satisfied many people; You enriched the kings of the earth With your many luxury goods and your merchandise. 34 But you are broken by the seas in the depths of the waters; Your merchandise and the entire company will fall in your midst.
- There’s a dramatic contrast here. In 26:2 God knew how Tyre had boasted that Jerusalem “was broken” – now the same word is used of them. They were the broken ones. No longer was it possible for Tyre to satisfy others – they themselves would remain unsatisfied & broken. They were sunken & brought down to the depths. And everyone knew it…
35 All the inhabitants of the isles will be astonished at you; Their kings will be greatly afraid, And their countenance will be troubled. 36 The merchants among the peoples will hiss at you; You will become a horror, and be no more forever.’ ” ’ ”
- Why would the nations tremble? Again, because Tyre was an example. If Tyre could be brought down & broken, any of them could. None were exempt. And none ever will be.
Tyre had boasted; they would be broken. They had it all; soon they would have nothing. No nation, not even Tyre was “too big to fail.” Any nation could be cut down to pieces by God & reduced to nothing, and Tyre serves as case example #1. It didn’t matter how much wealth and influence they carried in the world – it was nothing in comparison with God.
Tyre was rich in gold, but they were poor in mercy. They ought to have looked upon Jerusalem with compassion, but instead they gloated in themselves and let their greed shine forth. May we heed their warning & take it to heart! Thankfully, as Christians we are God’s own people & not Tyre – Jesus already took the wrath of God in our place, so that we will never experience it for ourselves. Yet we live in a culture & nation that is very similar to Tyre in many ways. Tyre was once a staunch ally of Israel, but it didn’t last forever…and neither did God’s blessing upon them. Our own nation needs to be careful not to make a similar mistake!
That said, what else can a Christian see from this?
- We see the love of God for His people. Sure, God needed to discipline the Jews, but that didn’t give the rest of the world the right to gloat over them. He loves His people & He is jealous for them, & He rose in their defense. We can trust God to do the same with us. He loves us & will defend us. Of that, we can be sure.
- We see the certainty of the judgment of God. We have been forgiven because of our faith in Jesus Christ, but not everyone has faith. One day they will face a judgment of their own, and it will be terrifyingly thorough. God does not want them to perish, but apart from their repentance, they will. So let us be the ones to warn them! Now is our opportunity to tell them the gospel so that they may be saved, so let us take it!
- We see God’s sovereign control over the world. He is our God, but He is not limited to one group of people. God is sovereign over every nation of the world – even those that reject Him. No matter what we see going on in our culture (and new tragedies fill the headlines every single day), we can trust that God is still on His throne. He is working His will, and He has an answer for every injustice that takes place.