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The Who of History
The prophet asked, “Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre?” and tells us plainly that it is our God who did so, the Triune Jehovah. Here is the who and why of all things. I do not think there is a passage in the whole of Isaiah’s prophecy that is more instructive and more comprehensive in explaining the wonders of God’s adorable providence in the out-working of his grace, to show man’s nothingness, God’s supremacy, and God’s determination to stain the pride of man than this 23rd chapter.
Yes, there is a “who” to history. And that “who” is our God. He is who undertook this counsel against Tyre and executed it. He who undertook this counsel against the merchants, and princes, and traffickers, and honorable of the world and executes it is God our Savior.
God writes history. History is his-story. God reconstructs geography. He is not merely the Geologist of the globe, but its Geographer. The God who built up the rocks manages all the surface work. God readjusts the map of the world. He alters names, boundaries, and capacities. The four seasons are his servants. He tells them what to do. Precisely at the time of this prophecy Chittim (Cyprus) revolted against Tyre and the Phoenician colonies began to be restless and joined Sennacherib when he attacked the mother city. Who did it? God shook the kingdoms: Egypt, Ethiopia, Babylon, Syria, Israel, and Judah quaked down to their foundations, while Tiglath-Pileser built and enlarged the Assyrian Empire. Yet, in due time his neck was wrung, and he was thrown away.
There are many kings, but they all have a King over them — eternal, immortal, invisible, the only Potentate. All others are painted figures. Christ our God, the King of Glory, reigns everywhere, always, over all things, absolutely! All gates fly back at his coming. All doors lift themselves up to welcome him and acknowledge his right to come. There cannot be two Almighties! There can be only one Supreme! And that one Almighty, that one King, that one Supreme, that one God is Jehovah our Savior.
Things are not ordered by the whims and moods of petty dictators, toy-kings, and politicians. They come and go. They die of disease, like dogs. They are but a puff of smoke, a vapor, just like you, just like me. — Withering grass! — Nothing more! — “The Lord reigneth!”
Why does God do things the way he does them? What is his purpose in everything he does? — “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.” — “That no flesh should glory in his presence!” God is determined to stain all pride, to smear the glory of man in the muck and mire of his own excrement — In Providence (Romans 8:28) — In Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:26-31) — In Grace (Ephesians 1:3-14) — In Judgment (John 5:25-29).