Summary: The Ultimate Defeat of Evil
An epitaph by definition is an inscription on a tombstone or monument in memory of the one buried there. For instance, Frank Sinatra’s epitaph reads,"The Best Is Yet To Come", and the Unknown Soldier’s reads, "Here rest an American Soldier known but to God"; and then there’s an anonymous epitaph which reads, "Here lies a poor unfortunate who was a victim of his own imprudence. Drop a tear on his tomb and say, If you please, a Psalm ’Out of the depths I have cried unto Thee, O Lord, for his soul. He was only 27 years. 1798."
Epitaphs are generally and sometimes fascinating. The words inscribed upon a tomb may tell little or much about the life of the deceased, but one thing that they always say is that this person is dead. Even if Isaiah had not given Israel the long dramtic oracle on the death of the king of Babylon, just to hear the simple words, "He is dead," would have sounded like heaven’s own music to the oppressed people of God.
What seemd like an eternity of brutality was finally over. Every age in history has had its tyrants. Every generation has heard the patheic wailing of oppressed people. Every serious minded man or woman of God has heard the world demanding, "Why must we suffer? When will this bondage cease? Where is God?" As I watch with great interest what is now unfolding in the world, war with Iraq, as I watch various news reports, I am not surprise when I hear of uprisings against the dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Right here in the text under consideration, Isaiah’s epitaph of Babylon (that once great city of Iraq) serves as an encouraging reminder to all ages that tyrants do die, evil is defeated, and God is still sitting on His throne. He’s not pacing back and forth in front of His throne trying to decide what He will do next, He is SITTING on His throne!
Epitaphs are usually brief, giving essential principles or elements of the deceased’s life. I have three brief points that I would like to lift up concerning the epitaph of tyranny.
I. THE PRESUMPTION OF EVIL
We debate the origin, purpose, or destiny of evil; but no one debates it reality. Just read your newspapers or looking at your local news broadcast, on any given day and it is quite evident that evil is real in the world today. That topic is not up for debate. The force of evil is as real as the force of good, because its a reality, and evil becomes proud, presumptious, and over-confident.
As like the rest of America, I sit front on my TV and watch the continuous news coverage of this war with Irag and I can not help but notice how defiant and over-confident this "Butcher of Baghdad" really is.
He is a man with a specific evil goal and the goal he has is three-fold, 1.) Economic Power 2.) Territorial Domination 3.) The elimination of the nation of Israel.
The one clear truth is the unbelievable presumption of evil. History’s innumerable lessons are forgotten by the evil heart swollen with pride and selfishness though a thousand dictators are crushed to the earth, and a new one always rises with the presumption that he can successfully rule with force. He’ll even declare that his god ordained it to be so.
He’ll allow Satan to plant the notion in his head that it’s all right to brutalize and kill the people of his own nation as long as he gets his way.
Dr. Charles H. Dyer remarks in his recently published book entitled, "The Rise of Babylon" that: "Saddam Hussein was born, a man whose passions and methods baffle Americans. We cannot understand why this man invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait that supported him in his eight-year war with Iran. We cannot fathom why he was unwilling to withdraw his troops in the face of world condemnation. We cannot comprehend his barbaric use of chemical weopons on the citizens of his own country, including defenseless women and children. We cannot imagine how he can so brazenly lie to the world about stockpiling weopons of mass destruction. His country is a police state where Iraqis have been arrested for turning off a television when Saddam’s image was on the screen or accidently knocking over one of his ubiquitous posters."
Talk about pride in ones self! During the twentieth century and on into the twenty-first century, there have been plenty of want to be conquerors that have had this presumption of evil. Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Nicolae Ceausescu just name a few (we are blessed to of never had an American President in this list) there’s always somebody waiting in line, ready to flex his muscles in front of the whole world with the presumption that by force they may be able to rule the entire world.