CHAOS REIGNS

Opening Prayer

Show me today, Lord Jesus, what I need to know about you, myself, and those whom my life will touch.

Read ISAIAH 3:1 – 4:1

Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah

See now, the Lord,
    the Lord Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
    both supply and support:
all supplies of food and all supplies of water,
    the hero and the warrior,
the judge and the prophet,
    the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty and the man of rank,
    the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.

“I will make mere youths their officials;
    children will rule over them.”

People will oppress each other—
    man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
    the nobody against the honored.

A man will seize one of his brothers
    in his father’s house, and say,
“You have a cloak, you be our leader;
    take charge of this heap of ruins!”
But in that day he will cry out,
    “I have no remedy.
I have no food or clothing in my house;
    do not make me the leader of the people.”

Jerusalem staggers,
    Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the Lord,
    defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them;
    they parade their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
    They have brought disaster upon themselves.

10 Tell the righteous it will be well with them,
    for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked!
    Disaster is upon them!
They will be paid back
    for what their hands have done.

12 Youths oppress my people,
    women rule over them.
My people, your guides lead you astray;
    they turn you from the path.

13 The Lord takes his place in court;
    he rises to judge the people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment
    against the elders and leaders of his people:
“It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
    the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people
    and grinding the faces of the poor?”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

16 The Lord says,
    “The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
    flirting with their eyes,
strutting along with swaying hips,
    with ornaments jingling on their ankles.
17 Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion;
    the Lord will make their scalps bald.”

18 In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, 19 the earrings and bracelets and veils, 20 the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, 21 the signet rings and nose rings, 22 the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses 23 and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.

24 Instead of fragrance there will be a stench;
    instead of a sash, a rope;
instead of well-dressed hair, baldness;
    instead of fine clothing, sackcloth;
    instead of beauty, branding.
25 Your men will fall by the sword,
    your warriors in battle.
26 The gates of Zion will lament and mourn;
    destitute, she will sit on the ground.

In that day seven women
    will take hold of one man
and say, “We will eat our own food
    and provide our own clothes;
only let us be called by your name.
    Take away our disgrace!”

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

Ask Almighty God to search your heart and enable you to set aside everything that acts as a distraction. Seek to be lead away from trivialities and into God’s path.

Think Further

The writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn recounted the time when “a number of older people offer[ed] the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God.’”1 When a society abandons God for idols and trusts human intellect, wisdom, and power, chaos ensues. Isaiah dissects the outcomes for Israel when God withdraws his support, much as the apostle Paul analyzes the impact of a world in which God removes his restraint.2 We have already heard the word ‘abandoned.’3 Now we see its full implications, particularly in regard to leadership. It is said that people get the leadership they deserve. In this case there is a leadership vacuum (vv. 4, 6, 7), with no one willing to take on responsibility. Without leaders, oppression is rife (and, so often, it’s the poor who suffer; v. 15) and there is a disruption of relationships and values (vv. 5, 12). Without a moral compass, sin is no longer a cause for shame (v. 9). Everything is in turmoil.

Does this seem extreme? It certainly pinpoints the logical conclusion of rejecting all that is gained from a Christian heritage. Function as if there is no God, and see what it brings. This should bring us to our knees in repentance, though we give thanks that the Holy Spirit is at work to convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.4 There is, as always, a word of hope (v. 10), but it is tucked in among many causes for grief. These continue as Isaiah catalogues self-indulgent obsessions with sex, fashion, and image (vv. 16–23), all very prominent contemporary preoccupations. God wants to bring his people to lament (v. 26) by demonstrating how pointless life becomes without him to lead us.

Apply

We are all leaders somewhere: pray that God’s Spirit will guide as you exercise your leadership.

Closing prayer

I ask, Father, that you would lead me to those for whom I can be an instrument of your love; help me to share freely all that you have given me through your Word.

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by kingstar

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