Isaiah 3:1-15: A Warning for Us Today?
I have decided to take a break from the Doctrine of One Another but I plan on returning to it next week. When I am doing a series of posts on a single topic, like I have been, I find it really helps me to break the series up every once in a while with a post on a different topic. This is one of those posts.
I have been watching Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s video series on the Book of Isaiah on Sundays. I am not as familiar as I need to be with the Old Testament and studies like this one really help me. This past Sunday Dr. Fruchtenbaum discussed Isaiah chapter three and it struck me that this particular passage has relevance to the United States in this year of our Lord 2011. The southern kingdom of Judah was under threat from Jehovah (or Yahweh if you prefer) to repent or he would destroy them using the Kingdom of Assyria. Isaiah 3:1-15 states some of the warning discipline that Judah was already under and it sounds eerily familiar to the leadership problems that the United States is currently having. I am going to provide the passage from Isaiah and then commentary by H.A. Ironside.
Of course anyone who reads this may not agree that the discipline visited on Judah sounds like some of our problems today. However, when I have interacted with other believers on this topic I always hear the objection that Israel was under the Law of Moses but we aren’t. This is basically saying that only Israel had rules which God required them to live by but every other nation (then and now) could do as they please and God doesn’t care. That is a load of balderdash! Why was Jonah sent to warn the Assyrian empire lest they be destroyed? How can anyone read Amos 1, Amos 2, or Obadiah 1 and make such an assertion? Here is a quote from Obadiah 1:3-4:
3 Your presumptuous heart has deceived you,
you who live in clefts of the rock
in your home on the heights,
who say to yourself:
Who can bring me down to the ground?
4 Though you seem to soar like an eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
even from there I will bring you down.
[This is] the LORD’s declaration.
That threat was made against Edom not Israel! The United States acts at times as if no one could ever bring down the world’s only “superpower”? I know Someone who can and it can happen almost in the blink of an eye.
That being said here is the full quote of Isaiah 3:1-15 to be followed by Dr. Ironside’s commentary:
1 Observe this: The Lord GOD of Hosts
is about to remove from Jerusalem and from Judah
every kind of security:
the entire supply of bread and water,
2 the hero and warrior,
the judge and prophet,
the fortune-teller and elder,
3 the commander of 50 and the dignitary,
the counselor, cunning magician, and necromancer.
4 “I will make youths their leaders,
and the unstable will govern them.”
5 The people will oppress one another,
man against man, neighbor against neighbor;
the youth will act arrogantly toward the elder,
and the worthless toward the honorable.
6 A man will even seize his brother
in his father’s house, [saying:]
“You have a cloak—you be our leader!
This heap of rubble will be under your control.”
7 On that day he will cry out, saying:
“I’m not a healer.
I don’t even have food or clothing in my house.
Don’t make me the leader of the people!”
8 For Jerusalem has stumbled
and Judah has fallen
because they have spoken and acted against the LORD,
defying His glorious presence.
9 The look on their faces testifies against them,
and like Sodom, they flaunt their sin.
They do not conceal it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Tell the righteous that it will go well [for them],
for they will eat the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked—[it will go] badly [for them],
for what they have done will be done to them.
12 Youths oppress My people,
and women rule over them.
My people, your leaders mislead you;
they confuse the direction of your paths.
13 The LORD rises to argue the case
and stands to judge the people.
14 The LORD brings [this] charge
against the elders and leaders of His people:
“You have devastated the vineyard.
The plunder from the poor is in your houses.
15 Why do you crush My people
and grind the faces of the poor?”
says the Lord GOD of Hosts.
Isaiah 3:1-15 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
What follows is an excerpt from Dr. H.A. Ironside’s commentary on this Isaiah 3. You will probably notice that he uses the King James Version translation rather than the more modern Holman Christian Standard Bible translation I quoted from. Either way the message should be clear.
THIS third chapter continues along the same line as chapter two, but makes it very definitely clear that it is Jerusalem and Judah which God has in view above all others when He speaks of coming desolation and unsparing judgment. The covenant people and the one-time holy city had gone so far from the path of obedience that God Himself prepared them for the vengeance decreed by weakening their means of defense. Children were their princes and babes ruled over them.
Their leaders, in other words, were like infants unable to control themselves, much less to guide others aright, so disorder and confusion prevailed in place of orderly government. When God is dethroned, anarchy always results.
In their desperation, men were ready to follow anyone who might seem to be able to point out a way of escape from the present misery and might promise to bring order out of the chaotic condition prevailing. But those to whom they turned for guidance were in utter bewilderment themselves, and so refused to take the responsibility of seeking to rectify the abuses which were affecting the nation so adversely (verses 5-7).
The root-cause of all the trouble is indicated in verse 8, “Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory.” Thus they had brought down judgment upon their own heads, and so we hear the solemn “woes” pronounced against them – two in this chapter (verses 9 and 11); and six in chapter five (verses 8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22).
First we read, “Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” Then in verse 11, “Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” As for the righteous remnant, God will care for them, protecting them in the day of storm and stress (verse 10).
Alas, the great majority of the people were oblivious to their danger and were content to go on with children as their oppressors and women ruling over them, as we have seen; a weak and powerless leadership that could not lift them above the existing confusion.
The Psalmist prayed, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified” (Psalm 143:2). There is none now to plead for the guilty leaders in Judah; rather, the Lord Himself stands up to plead against them and to enter into judgment with them. Because of the way they have misled the people and abused their confidence, He will hold them accountable for all their waywardness.