Jerusalem is called the “Valley of Vision” here because it is where God often revealed himself. The people seem oblivious to the warnings they are being given. They are not repenting and putting their trust in God. They are doing all sorts of things, like partying, recreating on their rooftops, and preparing, all by their own power. “But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” If they could only see how easy God was making it for them to be safe and secure. 2 Chronicles 7:14 sums it up nicely. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
How often to do we do a similar thing? We go about our business, making plans, executing those plans, and then wonder why our plans fail. Perhaps we, too, missed the crucial piece of asking God first. Had we asked for God’s help, his input, his blessing, we may have received a message that our plans weren’t quite right. God’s plans never fail. Shouldn’t we want to make sure we are doing things God’s way?
If you were a little confused about what siege on Jerusalem Isaiah was talking about in today’s reading, you’re not alone. There seems to be a difference of opinion between scholars in what attack we are hearing about here. Perhaps it’s even a combination? While the Assyrians are not mentioned by name, we do hear of Kir and Elam. They were known to have associations with Babylon. It seems scholars are split on what attack Isaiah is prophesying about. You’ll recall God delivered Jerusalem from the Assyrian attack, so they could be reveling over that. In either case, we see how people are not responding as God had hoped by trusting in his power.
“At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn.” Yet the people partied on, almost laughing at death. For that behavior, this is their reward. “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” The people would continue to be in denial. That is why Isaiah was so disheartened and overcome with sadness. He knew his people would suffer greatly for their poor choices.
We may not have an army stomping toward us with intention to destroy us, but we do have circumstances in our lives that challenge us. We may live in fear, have worry, or be dealing with a sickness or disease that is ravaging our body. What happens in those times? Do we instinctively turn to God for wisdom and protection? Or, do we look to our own strength or the help of others forgetting that our greatest power and asset is our own heavenly Father?
I know this will seem like a silly example to some. I have even asked God for his help in finding my keys. Imagine a time when you’re needing to leave the house, running a few minutes behind schedule, and your car keys are not on the hook by the door where they are “supposed” to be. What happens next? Panic. You scramble aimlessly around the house hoping you’ll eventually find them, knowing they will be in the very last place that you look. Have you ever asked God for help? I have done this for things other than keys, too. He always helps me. Whether I’d find them on my own or not is not what’s important. It’s that I asked God for help, and he gave me the peace I needed during the search so we could find them together.
What do you need help from God with today? You know there is something whether it’s a task to complete, a hard conversation to have, making plans, or even deciding what’s for dinner. Don’t forget to ask God for help. Ever.
Let’s pray … Lord, I thank you that you are available 24/7 ready to help and support me. Help me do a better job of asking for help. There is so much going on in the world right now. People need you, God. In the good times or the challenging ones, may I always show my gratitude for how you are there for me. May I never lose sight of what you have done for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.