The Haunt

Isaiah 13:19 & 21a

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, … will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. … But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures.

Have you ever watched those extreme renovation shows where someone tries to flip an abandoned, decrepit house? I’ve watched episodes with my wife where contractors find everything in the house from an infestation of roaches to a nest of vipers to territorial snapping turtles, but the jump-scene is always the same: the workers open the front door, immediately cover their noses, walk cautiously across rotted flooring, turn a corner, and let out a terrified shriek. That shriek, that moment of disgusted revelation is what Isaiah imagines here. It’s the tragic reminder that the glory of godless men doesn’t merely deteriorate, it mutates. It doesn’t just fade out, it spoils and rots and leaves a lingering stench in its wake.

When the divine light is snuffed out in a soul, when the sanctifying work of virtue is replaced by selfish ambition, when progress in the Spirit is traded for regress in the flesh, what remains is a condemned, deteriorating shell-of-a-life—a restless creature howling in the dark.