Tuesday, September 18, 2012

wreck of an economy

In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you and lament over you: 'Who is like Tyre, like one destroyed in the midst of the sea?
Ezekiel 27:32

When Tyre was ransacked by the Babylonians, the influence of the Phoenician trading empire began to fail. When Tyre fell, so did much of the normal economy of the Middle East at that time. Tyre was a major cultural influence of the ancient Mediterranean world. It controlled a substantial amount of the shipborne trade. And the lament recorded in the poetry of Ezekiel 27 (comparing the city's fall to a shipwreck) impresses the reader with the impact of the city's decline and fall.

Nebuchadnezzar's army ransacked and burned the city. They carried away its wealth and its skilled businessmen and traders. But the city remained, scarred and diminished all the way up to Alexander the Great's armies. At that time Alexander and the Greeks were the foes who brought final doom to Tyre. The Greeks then supplanted the Phoenicians as masters of the Mediterranean. And the city of Tyre would never again stand a chance of regaining its former glory or its commercial significance.

What is striking in the judgment of Tyre is that God collapsed the entire economy of the Middle East in these events. We humans place high value and hope in our fragile economics. But when God takes down our flimsy house of cards with a simple wave of His hand, we are left to contemplate what is really important. Nothing in human achievement is more impressive than what Almighty God can do. That is one lesson from the fall of Tyre well worth considering.

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