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.
It also appears these people were full of pride. They put their trust in their own power and “things” rather than in God. The Lord was not going to simply look the other way. What were they going to do when they realized God was not going to ignore their sinfulness? Isaiah told them to “Crawl into caves in the rocks. Hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty.” God’s message was clear. He would punish the proud and “bring down everything that is exalted.”
What is “exalted” for you? We may not bow down to statues of wood or metal anymore, but there are objects that symbolize power that attract us. I think of celebrities and sports heroes, money, fast cars, and fame, to name a few. What do we place our focus on? With all the changes happening in our world today due to the pandemic, I know movies aren’t being made, athletic events are on hold or played before empty stadiums, etc. There seems to be a shift occurring of what is important. It’s time to take inventory. Isn’t it better to worship God rather than something he created?
The picture of God we get from this reading is that he is full of glory and majesty. No matter what may be happening in the world, good or bad, God is the same. Whether we look on God’s majesty in awe or in fear, that’s up to us. Are we being willful children pushing the limits of God’s patience with our greed and prideful ambitions? Or are we feeling empowered by God’s spirit to be ambitious servants humbled at the opportunity?
The final warning of this section is “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” Frail as breath. That’s an interesting picture. That speaks to our limitations as compared to God’s might. When you think of it that way, it’s easy to lean into God’s power. We are frail and weak, and definitely in need of a Savior. God simply wants us to humble ourselves and rely on him. Doesn’t it make sense to put our trust in God’s majesty and might rather than cower in fear due to our weakness?
Take some time to reflect on God’s majesty at work in your life. How do you respond?
Let’s pray … Lord, I know I can’t hide from you. I don’t want to. You know my thoughts before I even have them. I am awed by your greatness and humbled that you care for me. I can’t begin to express the gratefulness overflowing inside me. Forgive me for the times when I have stumbled, when I have been too prideful in my own abilities. I love that you are working inside me to make me a better person ready to help others. Use me, God. I am your servant. In Jesus’ name. Amen.