This chapter describes the sin, pride, and attitude of God’s people and why He punished them by taking His provision and protection away. They would no longer have strong wise leaders and would be desperate to follow anyone. Once again I see so many similarities between Israel and Judah’s sin and much of the world and church today.
People are proud of their sin today. They wave it like a flag and flaunt it for everyone to see. In fact there are many forms of evil that the world lifts up and praises. So much wickedness is called goodness by the world. Verse 9 gives them a warning, ‘watch out, check yourself before you wreck yourself’,
“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.”
Verses 14-15 describe another of the sins of Israel and Judah.
“The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts.”
They destroyed their economy. It was no one’s fault but their own that greed took over and they used their resources without regard to The Provider and Creator. They got rich off the poor and oppressed them. If you want to get rich, get rich off your own sweat. Using people for your own advantage and tyrannizing the weak and the needy is against everything Our Loving God stands for and desires. There is nothing wrong with wealth. It is how it is acquired, what one does with it, and the place it has in the heart that holds the problems.
Verses 16-17 describe another issue,
“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,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
the heads of the daughters of Zion,
and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.”
We’ve given ourselves over to parading vanity and sexuality. Sex is a beautiful and precious gift from The Lord but it is twisted and used in a context that it was not meant to be. People use it to destroy, fulfil lust and sick desires, control people, and manipulate. There is no love in that kind of sex.
Vanity makes the person decorate herself and try to be beautiful through ornaments, make up, clothes and sex appeal rather than the true beauty that comes from love, kindness, and wisdom. Outer beauty means nothing to God and in the end means nothing to your fellow man. Blonde hair and big boobs will not save anyone from Hell. Verses 24-26 describe what will happen to outer beauty and adornments.
“Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword
and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;
empty, she shall sit on the ground.”
What a contrast to what Jesus will do for us! Jesus saves and His Spirit changes the person. All the bad, and the garbage are gone. In their place is love, kindness, joy, patience, and true beauty. The verses above are in stark contrast to what is written later in Isaiah Chapter 61 about Jesus. Isaiah 61:1-4 reads,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.”
Do you fit into this description? Did your Lord do this for you and are you doing it for others? Do you fit more with some of the other descriptions? Are you proud of your sin, your money or your beauty and charm? You can choose to fool yourself and live in what the twisted version of “good” created by the world. Or you can let God make you righteous, genuinely beautiful, and rich in truest sense.
Ask yourself if Jesus is your Savior, if you are filled with His wonderful Spirit, if you pursue God and righteousness. Let God bind your broken heart. Allow him to proclaim your freedom and grant you favor and comfort. Permit God to give you beauty and gladness. Let Him call you an oak of righteousness, build you up and restore and repair you.