The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken, “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.
Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness- only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
Daughter Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a cucumber field, like a city under siege. Unless the Lord Almighty had left us some survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?
Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her— but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water. Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.
Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel, declares: “Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes and avenge myself on my enemies. I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”
Zion will be delivered with justice, her penitent ones with righteousness. But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the Lord will perish. “You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen. You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water. The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire.”
This first chapter of Isaiah cuts right to the chase and gets to the heart of things concerning God and his people. While God has a heart for His chosen ones, it’s clear that the people’s hearts had turned away from God. Not just satisfied in doing whatever seemed right in their own eyes, but creating idols and gods to petition for wants and to worship.
Remember we learned that Isaiah’s name means Salvation of the Lord. This explains the method of Isaiah’s passionate ‘preaching’ by laying out God’s case against Judah and the people of Jerusalem, but also reminding them that He loves them as His own children,that He reared them, and that He loves them. He warns them through the prophet of what has and what will become of them if they don’t listen to His warnings.
Like a parent to a wayward child He lists the things that they are doing which is dishonoring and abhorrent, and explains why. He also promises what He will do if they would listen and be obedient, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
This reminds me of the commandment for kids to honor their parents, and the fact that it is the only commandment with a blessing attached to it, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
It stands to reason that if we don’t honor our parents, or God, that days may be shortened and things definitely will not go well.
It’s amazing the similarities we can find in the Old Testament times with the people of Israel, and now even in our own country. While we are not God’s chosen people, our nation was created in a way that showed God’s hand upon it. From the first settlers and the proclamation, IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith…
There is no doubt the heritage we had, and the foundation that this country was built on. In that day, the people honored God, and things went well in the land He provided. But like the nation of Israel, we have created our own gods, idols and done what’s right in our own eyes, even with so many of the same sins the people back in Isaiah’s time.
Two songs come to mind as I read this chapter of Isaiah, with the charges against the people,
but also the willingness of God to reason and settle things if the people would but turn to Him again with a whole heart.
Pray for our country, and for the people, that we will heed the Word of the Lord and turn our heart back to Him. That we would let Him refine us, and purify us. Pray for this world that they would know the Lord God, and His precious Son.
We may not all see promises in this life of things going well, but we can be sure, as those faithful listed in Hebrews that by the same faith we will claim all the promises He has made, even if we wait for our Heavenly lives to claim them.
Have a blessed day all!