Good is missing in action.’’ The Message.
Spiritual darkness is what we opt for when we turn our backs on God (13b) and towards sin (9-11). We may not like it when we are in it, but we will get what we have chosen (John 3:19; 12:35-40). ‘’We long for light but sink into darkness, long for brightness but stumble through the night.’’ The Message. When truth (light) is not wanted, ignorance (darkness) is courted (14b, 15; see Revelation 11:8.)Sin is self-destructive. If you love darkness rather than light you will get what you love. As someone observed, truth is always the ‘first casualty’ in turbulent times. The ‘’justice…and righteousness’’ are ‘missing in action’ because they are not wanted (9 and 14.) They are pushed away because God is pushed away. Because right living is not popular, right living people are persecuted in such a society (15b). ‘’Perhaps the most revealing touch is the victimization of the decent man, the only one out of step. It is a worse breakdown than that of Am.5:13, i.e. not only public justice has warped, but public opinion with it.’ Derek Kidner: ‘New Bible Commentary’, p.666.
In this section (9-15a), Isaiah confesses the sins of the nation as if they were his own. Was he personally guilty of these terrible wrongs? No. He surely was not. But there is a thread running through the Bible of prayerful people identifying with the sins of their own fellow citizens; standing in solidarity with them before God and crying, ‘Have mercy on us.’ This must have relevance for us as we seek to pray for our wayward and rebellious nation.
One reason why godly intercessors pray like this is at least in part because they know that ultimately God will move in judgment against sin (15b-19). He will come with a tsunami of justice. But even in His judging work there is mercy, for it paves the way for a ‘’kingdom of converts’’ as Derek Kidner puts it (19a).
Prayer: Oh Lord, please have mercy on our land. We have rebelled against you and resisted your ways. We have shaken our fists at you. We have shown hatred for your laws. We will not have you to reign over us. We deserve your judgment, yet we plead for your mercy. Forgive us our sins, for the sake of Jesus who died on the cross for us.