A theme that is repeated in the books of Kings, some of the Psalms, and in some of the prophets is the justice and righteousness of God. These are described as being the foundation of God’s throne.
Because our Lord is considered infinite in these qualities, He cannot, with a wave of the hand, dismiss unjust behavior from His own people. When Israel went astray after other gods, the Lord chastised them.
On a broader scale, the Lord would use one nation to chastise another, and then he would chastise the chastising nation for their unjust behavior against the initial nation. It is precisely for this reason the Lord allowed the foreign nations that were supposed to be banished from the Promised Land to stay when Israel refused to destroy them. I encourage you to read all of Judges 2:16-23 on this point, but here are the last few lines:
So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died. In order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua (Judges 2:20-23).
After the long tedious history of Israel’s kings, the Lord raised up the Assyrians to destroy the northern tribes of Israel, and the Babylonians to destroy the southern tribes of Judah. But later, he would destroy the Assyrians, and even later he would destroy the Babylonians by the might of the Medes and Persians, and the Persians with the fierceness of Alexander of Greece, and Greece would be taken out by the Roman Empire.
In the late ‘70s, I purchased a book by Edward Wharton titled God Among the Nations. One of the observations he makes is as follows:
The Bible insists that God from the beginning to the first century, the span of history covered by the Bible, has raised up and used nations to do His bidding. That God has interfered into the affairs of nations other than Israel is the plain statement of Scripture.
He then sites passage after passage in which the Lord stirs up one nation against another for His purposes.
There is a passage in Isaiah that made me pause because of its wording. Isaiah is telling the nation of Israel about the hope that will follow the Lord’s chastisement of them: “In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or have they been slain as their slayers were slain” (Isa. 27:6-7)?
Did God strike Judah in the same way he struck Babylon? Babylon is the one who struck Judah. Did He slay Judah in the same way he slew Babylon?
Answer: No! He struck, or, slew Babylon in such a way that they would never rise again. He spared a remnant among Israel through whom He would work to fulfill His promise to Abraham, and to the whole world. Brother Wharton is right: God used the nations to do His bidding.