Is this your jubilant [city], whose origin was in ancient times, whose feet have taken her to settle far away? Who planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose traders are princes, whose merchants are the honored ones of the earth? The Lord of Hosts planned it, to desecrate all [its] glorious beauty, to disgrace all the honored ones of the earth. – Isaiah 23:7-9 HCSB
Like the United States, Tyre was a country of merchants. She was known worldwide for her merchant marine. Her trading posts stretched from the Mediterranean to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the only thing that would slow down her virtual monopoly on sea trading was an all-out war. Her goods were shipped the world over. Her culture was the envy of all other nations. Her scholars were top notch and are generally credited with the invention of the alphabet and the textile industry.
She not only had a world-class navy, but some of the best defenses money could buy. Though she was the ultimate plum, she was rarely taken. She was surrounded by water and thus, nearly inaccessible. Nebuchadnezzar tried to take her for thirteen years straight. Three hundred years later it took Alexander the Great, the mighty world conqueror seven months to penetrate her defenses. He was so enraged at the delay that, contrary to his usual lenient approach to the defeated, he killed most of her inhabitants and sold the rest into slavery.
She had the best infrastructure in the world with cathedrals, sports stadiums, cemeteries (a first in this region) and aqueducts that carried her water from afar.
The Bible describes Tyre as a “bestower of crowns.” Apparently she used her trading monopoly, naval power and unsurpassed wealth to influence the leadership of foreign powers. Does this sound familiar?
But God was not impressed. Though the world considered her traders princes and her merchants were the honored ones of the earth, God decided to desecrate and disgrace her. The Lord was not arbitrary in His decision. He was punishing her pride. She did not fall because she provoked her neighbors. She fell by tempting them with her wealth. I’m sure there were many other sins running rampant in this wealthy nation. But in the end, her pride was enough.
God will always try to convince us of the futility of placing our trust in our own strength and wealth. All our scholarship is nothing next to God’s wisdom. To trust it is to trust foolishness. All our power is nothing compared to omnipotence. Our wealth is insignificant to the One who owns the universe.
Today, the only way to remember forgotten Tyre is to dig. And one day, if the Lord tarries, the US will go the way every other major empire has. It is hubris to think otherwise. Let us humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. Or, we too will go the way of Tyre.
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