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The Bible teaches from cover to cover the fact that “God is love” (1 John 4.8).
God is the most loving Being of all, but he is not a pushover. If he were, it would be to our detriment.
As God’s creatures, we are made to follow his guidance. If God allowed us to disregard his direction, our world would implode upon itself.
Isaiah 34 outlines what happens to the nations who forsake God.
Chapter 35 pictures the blessed result of aligning life with God’s guidance.
We can choose which result will be ours. If we trust God, it will be a blessing. If we disregard God’s guidance, hardship will result.
Judgment on the Nations
Like the moment of a trial when the judge summons the defendant to the bench to hear his sentence, God calls the nations.
Draw near, O nations, to hear;
O peoples, give heed!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their hordes;
he has doomed them, has given them over for slaughter. (Isaiah 34.1-2)
God is our Creator. He has every right to expect his laws to be followed.
People quickly follow God’s laws of nature. We learn at a young age to respect the law of gravity. We also are cautious around fire and wind.
Unfortunately, we frequently believe that we can ignore God’s moral laws. The nations that were called to account were all religious. However, none of them were moral, including the Southern Kingdom (Judah).
All of the nations claimed to believe in their gods. Judah believed in the One True God. However, their behavior demonstrated that they didn’t trust God enough to follow his guidance.
Oppression of the vulnerable, injustice toward the weak, and striving for power was typical of all of society.
They were all guilty. Nations that didn’t worship the True God, along with God’s people stood before their Creator for the crime of gross violation of his laws.
The nations that surrounded the Southern Kingdom worshiped the stars. God was the Creator of the stars. He judged the so-called gods of the nations and demonstrated his ultimate sovereignty over all.
All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall wither
like a leaf withering on a vine,
or fruit withering on a fig tree. (Isaiah 34.4)
The Nations’ Sacrifice
Verse 9 is typical of the verses that describe God’s judgment on Edom. This one nation is representative of all persons who reject God and his guidance.
And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch. (Isaiah 34.9)
If someone were to travel to Jerusalem this week and witness the destruction of missiles upon buildings, this image may become quite real. Humans are now able to destroy one another in biblical proportions.
I frequently meet people who say something like this: “I live as moral of a life as anyone else. When I meet the Man Upstairs, it’ll be OK for me.”
These people fail to notice their prideful self-sufficiency, as they reject God’s offer of salvation. They may not know it, but they are like Edom because their actions reject God’s purpose for their lives.
What Edom-like people fail to recognize is that only God himself can offer sacrifice for all.
Paul put it like this.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
“Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.
“But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
“Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.
“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life” (Romans 5.6-10).
The importance of the decision that we make has been illustrated in multiple ways by Isaiah from chapters 7 through 35.
We will fail miserably if we live in prideful self-sufficiency and self-will.
If we fully rely on God, we will live in peace with him and enjoy the blessing of friendship with God.
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.