”Those who were supposed to lead this people led them down blind alleys, And those who followed the leaders ended up lost and confused.” The Message. The leaders of Israel led the people astray. They led them in pride and arrogance and dismissing God’s Word (8-12). Leaders always carry the greater responsibility (James 3:1), but the people who follow are also held responsible (17). They were a guilty lot. In (8-12) Isaiah begins a new prophecy. It is specifically directed against ”Jacob” (the northern kingdom of Israel) and its capital city, ”Samaria”. From the outset the northern kingdom had always been more godless and wicked than Judah. Now God’s judgment was ready to fall on Israel. Yet God’s Hand was ”still upraised” . In other words, His full judgment was yet to come. Recently I was loaned a powerful dvd in which a Messianic Jew, a preacher in America, was showing how major U.S. leaders quoted Isaiah 9:10 publicly after recent traumatic events, without realising that they were expressing words from a passage about judgment. (A similar message of proud defiance is engraved on one of the topmost stones of the new Number 1 World Trade Centre, by the way). These prophetic words are not ones you would want to quote if you really understood the context, for they invited, and in fact led to, more judgment. ”The Master sent a message against Jacob. It landed right on Israel’s doorstep…they were a proud and arrogant bunch. They dismissed the message, saying, ”Things aren’t that bad. We can handle anything that comes. If our buildings are knocked down , we’ll rebuild them bigger and finer. If our forests are cut down, we’ll replant them with finer trees.” So GOD incited their adversaries against them…The Message.
Clearly God wanted the people to respond to His chastisement (13-17), and return to Him. But that did not happen (13) and, as we have seen, the leadership of the land did not lead the way in what was required (16). So the punishment was going to intensify, and God was going to deal with the bad leaders.
”Surely wickedness burns like a fire” (18 -21). Unchecked wickedness spreads rapidly throughout a nation. There is a clear warning here for the U.K., and for every nation under heaven. The message through Isaiah goes on to say that the spreading fire of human wickedness will soon be followed by the fire of God’s judgment (19). Part of God’s judgment on Israel will come in the form of civil war, in which brother will eat brother. ”Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh” (21) and they together ”will turn against Judah” (20, 21). But still God’s anger will burn against them because of their refusal to repent. (Manasseh and Ephraim were sons of Joseph and founders of the two most prominent tribes in the northern kingdom).
”Their wicked lives raged like an out-of-control fire, the kind that burns everything in its path…’ The Message.
Prayer: Lord, so fill me with Holy Spirit fire that I light up everyone and everything in my path for good, and your greater glory.