Isaiah 24:10-12 “The city of confusion is broken down;
Every house is shut up, so that none may go in.
There is a cry for wine in the streets,
All joy is darkened,
The mirth of the land is gone.
In the city desolation is left,
And the gate is stricken with destruction.”
My father-in-law was reading from the book of Isaiah recently and was struck by the familiarity of the passage comparative to today’s headlines.
“Listen to this”, he said, “doesn’t this sound a lot like what we are hearing in the news today?”
With crime seemingly increasing by the day, evil appears to be rising to the surface with no concern for being exposed.
People do care, even people of the world hate the direction they see the world going, and the fear along with depression has created an increasing level of anger and hatred in our societies that spills over into violence. A cause for concern in the world is the lack of understanding as to why we see the proliferation of the evil rising around us. People may care but they don’t understand as to what is causing this degradation.
The answer has been recorded in history.
Evil run amok?
Isaiah 24:1 “Behold, the Lord makes the earth empty and makes it waste,
Distorts its surface
And scatters abroad its inhabitants.”
When a nation forsakes the Lord and evil rulers direct its course, the entirety of the people suffer under wrath. The vision of Isaiah became oracles against nations that had forsaken God. From Tyre and Sidon, Egypt and Cush, all the way to Jerusalem and Damascus the process of God bringing condemnation against nations that have rejected Him is a complete and thorough rebuke against the rebellion of people who think there is no consequence to sin.
Isaiah 24:2-3 “And it shall be:
As with the people, so with the priest;
As with the servant, so with his master;
As with the maid, so with her mistress;
As with the buyer, so with the seller;
As with the lender, so with the borrower;
As with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered,
For the Lord has spoken this word.”
When a nation is brought under judgement, every aspect of the nation is affected. If we think we can just ignore the problems and focus only on our own circumstances, the effects will start affecting us.
Our universities have been overrun by liberal ideology, the NEA (national education association) continues to invoke a hypersexualized curriculum into all levels of education, and now transgenderism is being taught as a normal expression of individuality while suicide, depression, and drug use explodes.
The church is not without blame.
It is very difficult to find an atheist who hasn’t been affected adversely by false religion. The misrepresentation of God’s Word has done more to drive people away from God than any direct evil influence could ever accomplish.
What happens when the church fails to understand holiness? What are the effects of bad teaching, corrupt shepherds, and unholy priests who would rather prey upon the flock than protect it?
The people who were suppose to represent the light of Christ actually make the darkness ever more present.
Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”
If the church fails in representing Christ effectually, the darkness of the world’s ideologies appear justified.
Pride of the World
The vision moves from God rebuking individual lands to His rebuke encompassing the entire world. Every facet of society will be affected and no position is left untouched. Evil rulers will only lead a nation into trouble. The United States is witnessing this today. As a nation forsakes God by murdering their unborn, by preying upon children with their ideologies and canceling those who take a stand for righteousness, the trend is toward self-destruction.
This is not the first time evil has risen to the levels of of acceptance we see today. But with a world that is under the judgement of God, evil actions have consequences and those consequences are not held back indefinitely.
I am faced with the dilemma like many americans are facing–the continual progression of America from a ‘christian nation’, to a secular nation.
What many fail to see is that for many years our leaders have not been as righteous as what many thought. Listen to some of the quotes from early American forefathers:
“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”Benjamin Franklin
“There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.”Thomas Jefferson
“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.”John Adams
“The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.”Abraham Lincoln
However devout these men appeared, the direction of America’s spiritual health has always been left to doubt in regards to political leadership. The only bastion of clear biblical direction is found in the Spirit filled church. The misapplication of morality being relegated to governmental leadership is a road that will end in disappointment.
Isaiah 24:4-5 “The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.”
The striving of the world is a practice in futility. The world seeks its own, it strives to succeed in a man centered world and as it falls woefully short, its memory fades away.
We cannot elect our way out of moral depravity, we can only be found faithful as we move forward in holiness.
Isaiah 24:6 “Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned,
And few men are left.”
So many people long for better times to come, but how should we hope? Are our expectations fair and real?
The end time overtures of this prophecy in Isaiah reminds us of the curse of sin upon the world and the direction it continues to lead.
Desolation is reserved for those who attempt to justify themselves according to the flesh. For those who reject the grace of God, God’s all consuming fire will purify the earth and remove all who have chosen their own way.
Isaiah 24:12-13 “In the city desolation is left,
And the gate is stricken with destruction.
When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people,
It shall be like the shaking of an olive tree,
Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.”
Who is left on the tree? What people remain on the earth that the Lord might glean?
Might you be one of them? Possibly someone you know?
The destruction of the earth is progressively evolving around us and this process is happening for a purpose. As darkness and evil coagulates into one camp, the righteous are separated from the world to shine. Hopefully there are those who will be drawn to the light and seek the Lord while He may be found. Hopefully the church will see the opportunity that its been given and shine ever brighter until that final day.
For those who do see the light shining in the darkness, their song will be lifted up from the earth.
Isaiah 24:14-15 “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing;
For the majesty of the Lord
They shall cry aloud from the sea.
Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea.”
The night may be falling upon the world, but for God’s people the dawn of light approaches.
The Church is the Lord’s
Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
The true Church is led not by men, but by the Spirit of the Lord. The manifestation of God’s goodness happens as God’s people recognize where their source of strength and power originates and then walk in it.
The church must see that the foundation of their faith has to be grounded in the Word of God. When a church acts righteously, people aren’t repulsed by the image they present but rather the world is faced with the decision of whether to follow Christ or reject Him.
The culmination of this age is upon us, we must not forget our purpose as God’s people and live faithfully until the end.