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.
Before we moved to Mexico, we lived in a town that had experienced an EF5 tornado. That’s the biggest and deadliest. We moved there several years after, but the remnants of the storm were still evident. The scars affecting the people will last a lifetime. Many huddled in their basements that day and their lives were spared. What we see in our passage today is not a life changing event that happens in a matter of minutes like a tornado, but one that will bring all sorts of devastation to life as it was known. What do you think the people thought when they heard these words?
Let’s take a look at what we see. First, we see God taking away all that the people “depend on.” Did you see that list? It’s a pretty telling picture of how lost the people were if that is what they were depending on. Instead, God is going to appoint children, even toddlers, to be in charge. That, too, says a lot. Does that mean that God believes they would do a better job of ruling? Ice cream for dinner every night!
The next section sounds hauntingly familiar. “People will oppress each other— man against man, neighbor against neighbor. Young people will insult their elders, and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable.” Being “politically correct” is not something I’ll attempt. My devotion is to the Lord. and I place my trust in God, who is faithful. From news reports, it seems people today aren’t “playing nice” with each other. We see riots, prejudice, murder, power plays, and corruption of all sorts. We don’t have to agree with one another, but we should at least love each other and show respect.
In today’s world, sinful living can even appear glamorous. We need to be careful not to be taken in by Satan’s craftiness. The following could describe what we see, today, as well. “They display their sin like the people of Sodom and don’t even try to hide it. They are doomed! They have brought destruction upon themselves.’ We know the audience Isaiah was addressing. Yet, when we see many of the same patterns in our own day, it may also be the wake-up call for our generation. What are your thoughts on that?
God tries to protect us by pointing out what we should be careful of. It’s like a loving parent who tells us not to cross the street without looking or to keep our hands away from touching a hot burner. For the child who behaves, there is hope. “Tell the godly that all will be well for them. They will enjoy the rich reward they have earned!” Amidst all the warnings and a gloomy message, God gives us hope. We don’t have to have a future of destruction.
When judgment does comes, we will face God. I hope that his words to me are “well done” as opposed the accusatory message we hear here. “You have ruined Israel, my vineyard. Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor. How dare you crush my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?” Can you imagine being rebuked by God like that? When we do nothing to help the oppressed, it’s as if we have joined with the accusers. God’s compassion for the poor is evident. What steps are you taking to help?
Let’s pray … Lord, there are so many people being oppressed in this world. Where do I begin to help? The corruption of our current day is running rampant. Calm my fears and help me to see where my help is needed most. For those who have lost hope, use me to introduce them to your peace. Forgive me when I look the other way. Save me from destruction as I bring your light into this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.