Just to keep our bearings, Samaria was the capital of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Isaiah’s message today is about Israel, but we know that his direct audience was the people of Judah. God’s message wasn’t meant to taunt Judah but to protect them with critical information. If God’s wrath was coming down on Israel for their idol worship and refusal to turn to God, then didn’t it follow that those doing the same in Judah would also be subject to God’s wrath at some point? Unfortunately, this truth wasn’t as obvious to them as it is to us.
We weren’t even there, but we can take heed of the message for ourselves. We can design our faithfulness as God would deserve and/or expect. We don’t have to guess at what will please and displease God. We simply need to turn to the clues he leaves for us in his Word.
It’s not like the algorithms have changed. Right? For those using social media to promote anything, including an upcoming event, sale of a household item, or other business type deal, you have heard that term, algorithm. It’s the code or programming used by a social media platform, like Facebook, to determine who sees what posts. With a bazillion people on Facebook, they have to regulate the number of posts being seen with some sort of precision and programming. To make it interesting, that “programming” changes periodically. Not so with God.
God’s likes and dislikes, his majesty, and his omnipotence never change. He has declared his sovereignty to be eternal. Everlasting! Yet the people don’t get it. In fact, they are feeling a bit like children for how God is talking to them. Why? Because God “tells us everything over and over—one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” God had to be persistent and repetitive. The people weren’t listening. Their lack of concern for God in their lives only led to more severe destruction.
What was surprising to everyone was the Lord planned to let his own people be trampled. “He will come to do a strange thing; he will come to do an unusual deed: For the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, has plainly said that he is determined to crush the whole land.” I suppose Judah was feeling pretty safe, because the message wasn’t for them after all. It wouldn’t be until Israel finally fell, as prophesied, that they would start to put the pieces together. Not to mention, they, too, would be hearing a message of destruction very similar to this.
Nestled amidst the doom, we see the message of the cornerstone God will place in Jerusalem. A message of hope. The people of Israel were still welcome in Jerusalem even though they had stopped making the trip there when the kingdoms split. I believe that cornerstone reference is to Jesus Christ. The coming of Jesus would be in fulfillment of many of God’s promises. We see one here. “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.”
Whoever believes in Jesus need never be shaken. What a beautiful promise. Take some time today to imagine the strong foundation Jesus gives to our lives. When we are feeling weak, he is strong. 1 Corinthians 3:11 says, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.” And I also like these lyrics from the song, Firm Foundation. Jesus, You’re my firm foundation, I know I can stand secure. Jesus, You’re my firm foundation, I put my hope in Your holy word.”
Let’s pray … Lord, I thank you that I can stand firmly on you and never be shaken. There is a lot going on in the world right now. It would be so easy to feel burdened and fearful. I thank you for how you give me joy each day to combat those feelings of sadness that could so easily creep in and cripple me. I look to you for strength and hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.