24 Aug

Psalm 18:30: "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."

That the "word of the Lord is proven" is evident in hundreds of scriptures but a most prominent one involves Tyre, one of the oldest cities on the Mediterranean coast directly north of Jerusalem.  Originally, the city was made up of two parts. One was on the mainland and the other was about 1/2 mile off the coast and that is where the majority of the people lived. The island city of Tyre had two separate harbors which faced opposite sides of the island. With two sheltered harbors the island city became a major seaport for ships hoping to trade and practice commerce with the people of the eastern Mediterranean. Tyre became very wealthy and the island portion of the city over time became heavily fortified. The mainland city provided the other island city with fresh water and other supplies. This fact became very significant in future events.

At one time Tyre, a Canaanite city that worshiped the pagan god, Baal, was friendly to the people of Judah. King Solomon of Judah relied on King Hiram of Tyre to provide cedar from the forests of Lebanon to build the first Temple in Jerusalem. However, over time relations between Tyre and the Jewish nations of Judah and Israel declined. The worship of Baal was adopted by some of the people of Israel and the prophet Joel accused Tyre of selling people of Judah into slavery to Greece. Tyre became overly confident and proud of their wealth. Any misfortune that happened to Jerusalem was counted as a good thing by Tyre.

God finally spoke against Tyre through the prophet of Ezekiel saying:

"Son of man, because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’ 3 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. 4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. 5 It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord God; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations." Ezekiel 26:2-5.

In verses 7 to 14 of Ezekiel 26 the prophecy continues:

"For thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. 8 He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. 9 He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. 10 Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. 11 With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. 12 They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. 13 I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. 14 I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken,' says the Lord GOD."

Not long after Ezekiel's prophecy, Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar army laid siege against the mainland city of Tyre and completely destroyed it just as the prophecy says but it took 13 years to accomplish it. The people of Tyre who survived the battle moved to the island city. Since Nebuchadnezzar didn't have a navy he wasn't able to take the island city and eventually left and the island city of Tyre continued to prosper.

But wait! Didn't God speak through Ezekiel and say the stones, timber, and soil would be put in the water, leaving the ground bare for fishermen to dry their nets? This didn't happen with the Babylonian army. They just tore down the city and left it in rubble.

Fast forward 250 years to the time of Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia and Persia who ruled the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen. Alexander didn't have a navy either but he had a plan to conquer the island of Tyre. Alexander instructed his men to use the rubble of the mainland city and build a causeway to reach Tyre. This took 7 months to accomplish but Alexander and his army broke through the walls of the island city of Tyre and killed 6000 people while 30,000 were sold as slaves. Alexander took 2000 defeated soldiers of Tyre and had their hands nailed to trees until they died. This method execution was later adopted by Rome and became known as a "crucifixion".

Today, visitors who look for ruins from Phoenician Tyre find nothing no remains from that time period. Everything from that era was removed and thrown into the sea to build Alexander’s causeway, leaving only “shining, bare rock” where fishermen dry their nets. (Ezekiel 26:4-5, 14).

So, God used two pagan kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander, to fulfill the prophecy in Ezekiel.

"God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" Numbers 23:19

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