Women are apparently not immune from the wrath of God. Not that I would have thought so, but there are some drastic measures being taken here. I don’t know about you, but when I think of women from Isaiah’s time, I picture more of a servant girl not wearing jewelry or adornments of any kind. The picture here of women is glamorous, “haughty” walking around with their noses in the air. It is obvious these women have great wealth and prestige or have the appearance of that at least.
We see how quickly beauty can be taken away. Is it wrong to want to look beautiful? The problem here was these women had placed importance on their alluring clothing and stylish jewelry rather than on God. Instead of seeing the oppression around them and using their wealth to care for those less fortunate, there was greed and selfishness. Those are traits that keep us from a lasting relationship with God.
Disobedience will bring serious affliction and great destruction. You may recall in Deuteronomy 28, the Lord laid out curses for disobedience. The judgment being proclaimed through Isaiah now is a reminder of those warnings. The people had been alerted years ago.
How often do we ignore warnings that are given for our own good? I can remember as a child when the tornado sirens would sound, we would gather in our basement while the storms passed. Some people would not heed the sirens because they would rather have the thrill of watching the storm. There are even storm chasers who make a living doing that sort of thing.
Have you ever hidden yourself from punishment? As I was reading this passage, I pictured myself as a toddler or young child hiding under my bed to avoid an angry mom. Of course, it was preceded by something I had done wrong. I had been naughty, and discipline was inevitable. What I had done is not part of the memory! I do remember how it felt to get caught and the fear of punishment.
What about our text today? We hear that the Lord “rejected his people” for all sorts of misbehaving! That is a different kind of punishment than the spanking I was trying to avoid. Did the people realize what they were doing was angering God? The people were dabbling in magic, putting their trust in their vast treasures, worshiping idols, and bowing down to things they have made.
Isaiah speaks again a message from God about what he sees concerning Judah and Jerusalem specifically. “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth.” We know that Jerusalem is a high point in the region. The temple was built on Mt. Moriah and would be visible to the people. I have not traveled myself to Israel, but I know that as of today the temple is not standing in all its glory as it once was. Are we to assume that this vision has already taken place?
Revelation 21 is thought to be the fulfillment of this prophecy. God brings forth a new Jerusalem “descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal.” It will be a place of beauty and people from all over the world will go there to worship God. Our text today says people from many nations will come. This had to be strange for the people Isaiah was speaking to. Jerusalem was their city. Why would other nations come there?
We see another vision of Judah here that isn’t very pleasant. Unfortunately, we don’t need to look very far to see some of the same things in our current day reality. I have often thought God must be terribly disappointed in his children. There is so much injustice. People seem to have turned away from God. Our faith has been diluted with attempts to be more “inclusive” and accepting of people. Many are consumed with loving themselves and “things” rather than loving God. It was true then, and it is true now.
It’s pretty clear from God’s message that he is furious. “I will take revenge on my enemies.” God sees his enemies as those who have rebelled, turned against him, and become thieves, murderers, and bribe takers. God is also speaking to those who have failed to care for the oppressed, the orphans and widows. This will be a theme we’ll see over and again. God is calling for people to care for and defend those who have a hard time caring for themselves. Then and now, people have broken their commitment to God and turned their affections elsewhere. How about you? Where do your affections lie?