It was a great day to come together with all the grandkids to decorate cookies for their families for Christmas. This was a favor of Randy and I to our grown children to have some time off for Christmas shopping without their kids hovering around. As the years, went by, the kids got older, rowdier and more competitive. They all wanted to be in charge. After the cookies were decorated with lively fun and laughter, things took a turn. While I went to take a quick shower, I trusted them to help cleanup. Bored with the activity and the cleanup, however, they decided to pick on each other while I was out of the room. The chaos evolved into a pillow fight. The escalated pillow fight resulted in the decorated and neatly packaged cookies flying off the counter. They no longer cared about the prize of the cookies, only in winning the fight among their cousins!
When I stepped back into the scene we worked together to calm down, clean up the mess and get back to being with other in ways that didn’t hurt each other.
What does God think when His people resort to competition to see who can be the most selfish, participate in gossip that hurts and kills, grabbing all they can for themselves, with prideful in-charge behaviors that break His heart? Isaiah portrays a picture of God with God speaking through him with exactly what He will do. People will be judged for their sins. God is the judge, not people.
God is longsuffering as He watches people viciously exploit one another and selfishly ravage His creation. But a day is coming when unbelieving sinners will be punished and God’s people will share in the glories of His kingdom. Believers, saved by grace, “in the know” of God and know what He wants can no longer sit by idly saying “Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue. Don’t put me in charge of anything” just to escape from the situation. If God tells us what to do and say, we must step up, not to judge, but to point others to God by living for God ourselves. Stay focused on what God wants and live it. We will be different from the world in doing this. We will also get backlash from the world, but is the world who we should be following? Will the world protect us, love us forever, and provide for us? Hardly. Only God does all that and more.
Sooner or later, the justice of God will catch up with every person. What we have done to others will be done to us. Some people call this karma—God calls it justice.
Isaiah 3, The Message
Jerusalem on Its Last Legs
1-7 The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
is emptying Jerusalem and Judah
Of all the basic necessities,
plain bread and water to begin with.
He’s withdrawing police and protection,
judges and courts,
pastors and teachers,
captains and generals,
doctors and nurses,
and, yes, even the repairmen and jacks-of-all-trades.
He says, “I’ll put little kids in charge of the city.
Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around.
People will be at each other’s throats,
stabbing one another in the back:
Neighbor against neighbor, young against old,
the no-account against the well-respected.
One brother will grab another and say,
‘You look like you’ve got a head on your shoulders.
Get us out of this mess.’
And he’ll say, ‘Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue.
Don’t put me in charge of anything.’
8-9 “Jerusalem’s on its last legs.
Judah is soon down for the count.
Everything people say and do
is at cross-purposes with God,
a slap in my face.
Brazen in their depravity,
they flaunt their sins like degenerate Sodom.
Doom to their eternal souls! They’ve made their bed;
now they’ll sleep in it.
10-11 “Reassure the righteous
that their good living will pay off.
But doom to the wicked! Disaster!
Everything they did will be done to them.
12 “Skinny kids terrorize my people.
Silly girls bully them around.
My dear people! Your leaders are taking you down a blind alley.
They’re sending you off on a wild-goose chase.”
A City Brought to Her Knees by Her Sorrows
13-15 God enters the courtroom.
He takes his place at the bench to judge his people.
God calls for order in the court,
hauls the leaders of his people into the dock:
“You’ve played havoc with this country.
Your houses are stuffed with what you’ve stolen from the poor.
What is this anyway? Stomping on my people,
grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt?”
That’s what the Master,
16-17 God says, “Zion women are stuck-up,
prancing around in their high heels,
Making eyes at all the men in the street,
swinging their hips,
Tossing their hair,
gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry.”
The Master will fix it so those Zion women
will all turn bald—
Scabby, bald-headed women.
The Master will do it.
18-23 The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles—the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, all the world’s finest in fabrics and design.
24 Instead of wearing seductive scents,
these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;
Instead of modeling flowing gowns,
they’ll be sporting rags;
Instead of their stylish hairdos,
Instead of beauty marks,
scabs and scars.
25-26 Your finest fighting men will be killed,
your soldiers left dead on the battlefield.
The entrance gate to Zion will be clotted
with people mourning their dead—
A city stooped under the weight of her loss,
brought to her knees by her sorrows.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Jesus, prophesied by Isaiah, will come to earth as Son of Man and Son of God to show the world all that God intended when He commanded, “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. And love others like I have loved you.” Jesus will expand on these two “greatest commandments” as He described them to be in word and actions while on earth. Jesus teaches us to not only love but to go the extra mile, give generously, go beyond what is required by the world. And He does this by example, being the supreme sacrifice, who certainly went over and beyond for us in His love, mercy and grace. (See Matthew 5-7).
Jesus is coming back. Jesus has been appointed by God to be the final judge. Are we ready?
We make a mess of the world when we think we are in charge by ourselves of all that is around us. Forgive us of the mess we have made. Granted, You lead us to be leaders of others, but in ways that lead others to You! Your work in us is to bring YOU glory as we point seekers to you. Your work in us is to develop your character in us in ways that reflect who you are. We are made in your image; in the image of God we are made. Help us to stay focused on this truth and always ask what you want before doing anything of significance for you and your people. Teach me, for I am your servant.
In Jesus Name, Amen