“When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:
“How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!…”
“I will rise up against them,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the LORD. “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 14:3-4, 22-23 ESV)
At first I was caught up in the idea of rest from our pain and turmoil. Let’s be honest, that sounds great. But then I was distracted by this word I did not expect to be in there: taunt. The Bible says we are going to taunt the king of Babylon. We are going to taunt those who have oppressed us. And I don’t think it’s talking about the rival football team. I don’t think it’s even talking about our human opposition. I think it’s talking about Satan. Babylon is used as a term for the earthly rule of the enemy many times in the scriptures. I’ve seen the t-shirts that say, “Satan sucks” and so forth and while I agree with them in principle, in practice I am not sure that is the best approach. Satan is much more powerful than I am, and I can’t imagine taunting him. Taunting! But that is what the scripture says. That’s what God is promising. We “will take up this taunt”. It will happen.
But why do we get to take up the taunt? “I will rise up against them.” God will rise up against His enemies, against those who enslaved us. We get to be like that little brother on the basketball court who has a big brother who is the star. We can mouth off all we want because he is going to win the game. Our taunt is not an example of our own pride, but is confidence in our God. I look forward to the day when I have such a clear understanding of the might of my God that my confidence in the victory is unshakeable. And I guess I’ll have to learn to taunt.