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Chapters 13-23 described God’s judgment on the nations that surrounded Israel. John Oswalt provides this excellent summary of Isaiah’s thought.
— Since the glory of the nations equals nothing,
— Since the scheming of the nations equals nothing,
— Since the wisdom of the nations equals nothing,
— Since the vision of this nation (Judah and Jerusalem) equals nothing,
— Since the wealth of the nations equals nothing,
— DON’T TRUST THE NATIONS.
Above all, compete trust is the only wise way to approach life. The Psalm writer had it right.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46.1)
The Future – Destruction
It is misguided to rely on the system of the world that is bound for destruction. Only God is a haven.
Isaiah prophesied about the destruction of the world 2700 years ago.
Now the Lord is about to lay waste the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. (Isaiah 24.1)
Worldwide destruction may have been hard to conceive in 700 B.C. In 2021 the prospect of nuclear conflict and other weapons of mass destruction make this an actual possibility.
With the number of coronavirus casualties reaching over 3 million in a little over a year, we can again see how mass destruction could take place.
According to Isaiah, the powerful and influential of the earth will not be able to escape the coming calamity on the earth.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor. (Isaiah 24.2).
I am not a “doom and gloom” preacher. This passage is difficult to write about.
However, what is not difficult to write is our need to fully trust God. He, truly, is our only genuine security.
The Reason for God’s Judgment
The next verses speak of coming judgment and the role that humans play in what happens on earth.
The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers;
the heavens languish together with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled,
and few people are left. (Isaiah 24.4-6)
Humans pollute the earth with our attitudes and actions. This covers a wide array of issues ranging from how others are treated to the harming of the environment.
When we look at God’s “No Trespassing” signs and willfully step over the line, we don’t just break God’s laws. God’s laws break us.
The pride which says “I’ll do it myself” is sure to suffer. War, oppression, addiction, crime, and environmental damage is the result of a culture of “do it myself” people.
On the other hand, trust which says “I’ll trust myself to God” will receive God’s abundance.
Two among many of Jesus’ sayings make this point.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10.10).
“Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6.33).
The City of Chaos
Over the next few chapters Isaiah will contrast the “city of Man” with the city of God.
The city of Man places its trust in power, self-reliance, human glory, and earthly intelligence. They freely cast aside God’s guidance and follow their own best thinking.
The city of Man uses its power to oppress the poor, the vulnerable, the immigrant, and the widow.
The future of the city of Man is that it will become a city of Chaos, as the world falls around it.
The city of chaos is broken down,
every house is shut up so that no one can enter.
There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has reached its eventide;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
Desolation is left in the city,
the gates are battered into ruins. (Isaiah 24.10-13)
When joy is dependent upon alcohol and material blessings, the joy will end.
Some songs do not need alcohol or a record harvest. The joy springs from trust in God whose grace does not fail.
The Oppressed Rejoice
When the city of Man is destroyed, those who were victimized by it will rejoice.
They will glorify God’s character and nature with shouts and songs.
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
they shout from the west over the majesty of the Lord.
Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea glorify the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One. (Isaiah 24.14-16a)
However, Isaiah cannot join in the rejoicing. He grieves over the broken nature of humanity. Isaiah’s pain reflects God’s sorrowful heart at the destruction of people.
But I say, I pine away,
I pine away. Woe is me!
For the treacherous deal treacherously,
the treacherous deal very treacherously. (Isaiah 24.16b)
May we understand Isaiah’s message and embrace his attitudes and actions toward the world.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.