Reading the book of Isaiah has had a big impact on me. Over and over again it reminds us not just how far God’s people fell from His ways and laws, but how big and powerful God’s anger can grow when we continually turn away from Him after receiving warning after warning and 2nd chance after 2nd chance. It’s not a side of God I think about as often as I probably should. Isaiah was a prophet sent to warn the people to repent so they could avoid calamity, but the residents of Jerusalem would not listen. Isaiah 5:20-24 says this of the people:
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own opinion and clever in their own sight. 22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, who are fearless at mixing beer, 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe and deprive the innocent of justice. . . . . . for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of Hosts, and they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
It’s not this that strikes fear in my heart, it’s how much the residents of Jerusalem remind me of our country presently and how much the Lord’s anger burns against those who have rejected His instruction and despised His words. I won’t go into every detail here (I encourage you to read more of Isaiah on your own), but what Isaiah shares with the inhabitants of the land about what will come if there is no repentance isn’t pretty: mountains quake, corpses are like bodies in the street, cities lie in ruin, the land is desolate, etc. (Isaiah 25-30 is just a small part). Honestly, even though this is about God’s people from long ago, it has brought up some dialogue in my mind with God about redemption and direction our nation and the world are taking. Where do my family and I fit into all of this as we try to live lives worthy of the gospel. All that said, here are the words God revealed to Isaiah:
For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: 12 Do not call everything an alliance these people say is an alliance. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. 13 You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe. Isaiah 8:11-13
I wonder if Isaiah felt as I have when he received the news of the impending destruction? Did fear begin to creep into his soul? Was he wondering where he fit into this story and why bother trying to save people who didn’t want to be saved? I’m so thankful for God’s words in Isaiah 8. They are a reminder to me, and all of us, that as Christ followers there is only ONE we should follow and fear – Our Lord and Savior – all else should fall away. The ending of our story has already been written. The Lord has won! He has conquered so we need not fear what others fear. Amen!