The first several chapters of Isaiah read as if God could be speaking to us today. God called Isaiah to proclaim Israel’s sin so as to awaken the people to their danger of imminent judgment. He cared deeply for His children Israel, but they were indifferent. By this time in their history, God’s Chosen People had perfected the art of turning away from Him. They had mastered the means by which to anger God and bring His wrath upon themselves, and they never learned from it. We’re all familiar with an analog wave sign that is like a series of mountains and valleys. It rises and falls only to rise again and fall again, repeating this pattern indefinitely. This is a picture of Israel and her relationship with Yahweh.
We have to ask, which came first? Faith or failure? Was it the top of the rise of the analog signal (faith) or was it the bottom (failure)? Since this behavior of Israel was seemingly never-ending as to her repetitive behavior leading to this series of ups and downs in her existence, it probably doesn’t matter. What we do know is that from a position of strength in believing and obeying God, she always turned from Him. In choosing to reject Him and His mercy, Israel bought God’s anger and brought destruction upon herself. When she realized her mistake, while wallowing in the pit of despair for having vexed the Lord, He would rescue her and place her on a high pedestal once more in His good graces.
By the time Isaiah prophesied to Judah, the nation had turned its back on God once more. So deep were her sinful ways that Isaiah likened the city of Jerusalem to that of Sodom and Gomorrah, as we see in Isaiah 1:10:
Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
We see this same analogy during the Tribulation when Israel’s sins have heaped up to such a disgusting level, and God’s wrath is pouring out. Antichrist has come and Israel is all-in with who he is. She has forsaken God and tuned out the Word of the two witnesses preaching 1,260 days in Jerusalem before Antichrist kills them. And so Revelation 11:8 tells us:
… and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.
What is it that Israel has done to raise God’s fury to such a level that He would declare Jerusalem on a par with the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? The prophet articulates many sins, but Isaiah 3:9 is a good example:
For the look on their faces bears witness against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.
Do you know what is the most “gay” city in the world? It’s Tel Aviv. So desperately do the secular Jews desire to be loved by the world that the people in this city have wholeheartedly embraced the sin that God disdains and calls an abomination. Their “pride” is on full display; their parades flaunt this and are like poking a stick in God’s eye.
Look at how God laments about this behavior in Isaiah 3:12:
My people—infants are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.
But Israel didn’t listen then and they certainly aren’t hearing Yahweh voice His displeasure now.
The iniquities of Israel are no stranger to the rest of the world or to us in America. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9:
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Sin, evil, and abomination aren’t limited to any one people or geographic area. They are the hallmark of the human condition. When God speaks through the prophet in Isaiah 3:16, He is describing that which has gone on for thousands of years and is rife today everywhere we look:
The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
and walk with outstretched necks,
glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
tinkling with their feet,
Pride in aberration has always been, and it will continue to be, until God finally destroys it. Several times in Isaiah’s first three chapters he states that “in that day” God will act and things will change drastically. Despite Israel’s rejection of the Lord, and notwithstanding the refusal of most of the world to revere and honor Him, He will redeem both. He lifts up Israel at the time of the end and all peoples on the earth will rejoice. Consider this famous verse of Isaiah 2:4:
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
Jesus will rule and reign personally when He sits on His throne in Jerusalem during His Millennial Kingdom. Peace will come to mankind because of His direct intervention. Wars will be a thing of the past; so will the abominable behavior that has infuriated God forever.
This encroaching darkness that personifies lawlessness around the globe will have its day during the Tribulation. The wicked will cheer when God removes His people in the Rapture. Why? No longer will the evil ones have to hear those who follow Christ speak of sin. They can transgress against the Lord all they want, clutching it to their breasts, and loving its forbidden pleasures for a season. But that embrace of idolatry and sexual immorality, and all the other ways that people disgrace themselves in God’s presence, will end – horribly, I might add.
Knowing this, we who love the Lord need to seek Him even more in these treacherous days. It’s easy to be discouraged by the words and actions of those around us, even by the afflictions we may suffer. However, we must remember these troubles are light and temporary. Think of the alternative! Those who hate God will spend eternity in torment. What is a little suffering on our part today?
As the song proclaims:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full, in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
That is our hope because it’s God’s promise. Let’s cling tight to this assurance and do all we can to remain faithful to the end.