Tyre-d Out – Part IV

by The Doctor

“They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timber and even your dust into the sea” (Ezekiel 26:12).

Let’s now jump ahead about 240 years into the future. The year is now 332 BC and Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire has long since faded into history. In it’s place has emerged a new leader on the world scene- the powerful Greek Empire led by Alexander the Great.

During this time, Alexander was in the process of pretty much conquering everything, everywhere in the entire known world. In fact, Alexander had such a great reputation as a military leader that some cities made the decision to simply open up and let him come in and take over rather than try and fight against him. Every city up and down the Mediterranean coast came under Alexander’s control except one- Tyre.

When Alexander’s armies reached Tyre he sent messengers out to discuss peace terms with the people of the city. However, the people rejected Alexander and wouldn’t even let him in, a decision that is said to have made Alexander really, really angry. This move forced Alexander into making a fateful decision for the people of Tyre.

Alexander could have chosen to let the city go and not worry about it- after all, it was just an island, right? The problem was that Tyre’s navy ruled the ocean in that area of the world. If Alexander left the city alone, there was always the risk that the people of Tyre might one day attack him in some way or even launch an invasion of their own while he was off fighting in some other war. On the other hand, Alexander didn’t have the kind of naval resources that were needed to fight against a tough opponent that was located 1/2-mile (1100 m) out in the ocean.

So what was the solution? Well, Alexander came up with a difficult but brilliant plan. Alexander instructed his soldiers to start picking up the rubble that was left over from Nebuchadnezzar’s earlier destruction of the mainland city. The soldiers were then told to start dumping that rubble -piece by piece- into the ocean. Slowly but surely Alexander’s army began to build a road from the mainland out to the island city of Tyre- a road that could be used by his soldiers to attack the city.

Now building a road out into the ocean is not the kind of thing that you can keep secret for very long and the people of Tyre soon caught on to what Alexander was trying to do. They sent out their ships, broke up the road, set it on fire and beat Alexander’s troops back onto the mainland. Unfortunately for them, Alexander was a determined kind of guy who wasn’t willing to give up so easily. Soon he came back with another plan.

Alexander went back to the other seacoast cities that he had already conquered and got ships with experienced sailors from them. He then sent those ships out to blockade the northern and southern ports of Tyre so that no one could get in or get out. Then he started rebuilding the road. He cut down huge cedar trees to use as support beams and began once more to use the remaining wreckage from the mainland city to rebuild the road.

When Alexander finally completed the road and reached the island, the people still wouldn’t give up. Alexander was forced to attack the city for 7 months and personally led the final attack that killed 8000 people. The remaining 30,000 people who were left (mostly women, children and slaves) were then sold as slaves on the open market.

So the combination of Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the mainland city and Alexander’s conquest of the island city finished Tyre as a major force in that area of the world although people did still continue to live there for some time. In fact, Acts 21:3-4 tells us that there were even some Christians living there in the first century A.D. However the ultimate end for Tyre eventually came in 1291 AD when it was finally destroyed for the last time. Today what remains of what used to be Tyre is just a little fishing village – a “place for fishermen to spread their nets” as we’re told in Ezekiel 26:5.

So why has The Doctor spent all this time going through this whole big history lesson? Well, the example of Tyre illustrates an important truth: God’s Word always comes to pass! Whenever you’re tempted to think that God is not going to come through on His promises, take a lesson from the city of Tyre.

You can rest assured that all of God’s promises will come true. This is good to remember especially if you ever begin to feel frustrated by the amount of time it seems to be taking for God to move on your behalf. If you find yourself in this position, just think about the example of Tyre. Even when it takes a long time to see things happen, you can always count on God to fulfill all His promises.