Chapter 27:1-11 (ESV) - The word of the Lord came to me: “Now you, son of man, raise a lamentation over Tyre, and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord God:
“O Tyre, you have said,
‘I am perfect in beauty.’
Your borders are in the heart of the seas;
your builders made perfect your beauty.
They made all your planks
of fir trees from Senir;
they took a cedar from Lebanon
to make a mast for you.
Of oaks of Bashan
they made your oars;
they made your deck of pines
from the coasts of Cyprus,
inlaid with ivory.
Of fine embroidered linen from Egypt
was your sail,
serving as your banner;
blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah
was your awning.
The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad
were your rowers;
your skilled men, O Tyre, were in you;
they were your pilots.
The elders of Gebal and her skilled men were in you,
caulking your seams;
all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in you
to barter for your wares.
“Persia and Lud and Put were in your army as your men of war. They hung the shield and helmet in you; they gave you splendor. Men of Arvad and Helech were on your walls all around, and men of Gamad were in your towers. They hung their shields on your walls all around; they made perfect your beauty.
Question to consider: Why did those who inhabited Tyre consider it “perfect”?
When God created the earth and everything in it, He called all of His creation “good” because it came from the source of all life, and everything was made to bring Him glory. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God and His word, the world became corrupted by their sin and the sin of their descendants. Rather than all things being done for the glory of their Creator, they were instead done for the glory of those who considered themselves to be among the gods, and were considered “perfect” if they conformed to the world’s aesthetic desires.
So the lamentation in today’s passage focused on the things that made Tyre perfect in the eyes of the people: its prime location at the heart of the seas, its magnificent structures known for their size and beauty, the skills of its craftsmen, and its military strength. Of all of the ports along the Mediterranean, Tyre was most envied for its ability to produce wealth and display the greatness of man. Throughout history, the world has valued people and things by their external beauty, strength, and prowess even though all of these things are temporary and fading away.
Of all the cities that have existed in the world, there was only one that was given by God with the promise that He would dwell among them: Jerusalem. That city became stained with the images of pagan gods and the blood of injustice and profane sacrifices. It became more concerned with its own glory and wealth, and when it became attractive to the surrounding nations, it was plundered and destroyed.
Today, Christ reigns from the heavenly mount Zion of the New Jerusalem where the temple is not built by hands. All day and night, the saints who have been made perfect in the blood of the lamb, and the angels who did not rebel against God, reflect and magnify the glory of Christ. It is manifested in the earth through the church— the congregation of believers who gather together in the name of Christ to receive His word and sacraments, and who go out into the world to make disciples as commanded by Christ. We are looking forward to the day when Christ ushers in the new heavens and earth which will be incorruptible, and sin will be a thing of the past.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for judging us by the righteousness of Christ and not by our corrupted attempts at good works. Help us to display the mercy and grace of Christ to the world despite being broken vessels so that we may all rejoice at His return. Amen.