Of all the books I’ve been studying lately none have challenged me quite like Isaiah did. I just couldn’t connect with it, and for some time I really was just forcing myself through it. I eventually swapped Bibles and started reading it out of The Message translation, which helped immensely. While I don’t personally believe The Message should be your main Bible, its dramatic and lively language can really animate the word of God. So while my first few verses from Isaiah that I’ll be writing about are from ESV or Amplified Bibles, we’ll pretty quickly make the swap over to The Message for all the rest.
Another thing that I found so challenging about Isaiah is the directed message it has for God’s people at that time. There are some well known words and promises in this book that I’ve heard quoted often, but as I read I was struggling because so many of these seem specifically for God’s people at that particular time. I struggled for a while about this, even wondering if I should write about the book of Isaiah since I wasn’t positive what was just for those people back then and what still applied to us today.
I had a talk with my brother about all of this, and as we studied the issue together we came to a Bible verse that really eased my worries.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
So while some of the direct promises in Isaiah might not be active in the exact manner they were spoken for me today, I rest confidently in the fact that God wouldn’t have put this book into the Bible if its content wasn’t meant to help me and teach me. So with that all said, the first verse I want to look at definitely seemed to be specifically speaking to the people about whom it was written, but I couldn’t help but feel like it so perfectly describes our modern society too.
Isaiah 5:13 Therefore my people go into exile
for lack of knowledge;
their honored men go hungry,
and their multitude is parched with thirst.
I’m overcome by an odd sensation as I read this verse and apply it to modern day society. I almost feel as if God’s just telling me that this does indeed perfectly describe modern day America. Lack of knowledge, their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. Take a drive through the City, spend some time speaking with the people you find there, and I promise you you’ll agree that these three things describe our society. It’s a world desperate for a God they desperately run from, and the amount of false knowledge we’re all full of is insane. How can people have access to all knowledge and yet know so little about the things that really matter?
Did anyone watch the presidential debate last night? I sure didn’t, but I know a lot of people did. If this election cycle isn’t enough to make you lament over our nation and society, then I can show something that will. Go look at your Facebook feed during and after the debate. Chances are high that at least a few people you know have written something ugly or written something about how disillusioned and worried they are. Chances are you’ve seen friends insult one another during this election cycle. Watching friends and family members tear each other apart over political leanings breaks my heart in a special sort of way.
I don’t want to make this about politics, so let me bring the focus back to society in general. I think that maybe one of the only things that all of us as a collective people can agree on today is that our society is in trouble. It’s just not in a healthy state at the moment. The multitude is parched with thirst, as the verse up above says.
You know, I almost felt this slipping into just some lament over how bad things are, but I feel God telling me to take it a different direction. You see, I’m not in the business of limiting God. There is no situation too far gone for Him. So I want to just close out today’s blog in prayer, and I’m asking that you read along with me and pray this with me in agreement.
Father God, I know that this verse in Isaiah describes American society. But I’m not content just throwing up my hands and accepting that things are dire and are going to get worse. I don’t know your plans, I don’t know your timings, but I know your heart, and so right now God I’m asking for you to step in and help us. I’m starting at the top, in the White House. Lord, I could care less who gets elected, but what I do care about is what they do once they’re elected. So I ask this of you. Whoever wins the election, I ask that they are radically changed by your love and power before they take office. I ask that we get a president who is so filled with Godly wisdom that they usher in a new era for this nation. I ask that you would flood their heart with so much love that they move in a way that we’ve never seen a politician move, that people from both sides of the aisle would just stare dumbfounded at them as they put the principles and right thinking of God into motion in our government. You are the author of goodness, the originator of all blessings, and so I ask that you do what you do so well and give us light out of darkness. Take what so many of us believe to be the worst crop of candidates in maybe ever and turn one of them into your anointed leader, turn them into a beacon of hope and light that shines across the entire world. Let America be known as the land where Jesus reigns supreme, and give us the chance as a nation to show everyone just how special of a God you are. You are the God of the least likeliest candidates, you did it throughout the Bible and you continue to do it today, and so I ask that you do it right now in this election. I don’t care which one God, you know the right choice, and I know this is a big prayer but I’d rather pray and believe big than to sit around and lament and feel hopeless. Make a move in this government, flood this nation with your glorious light, usher in an era of your love. So many people hate you, God, and I ask right now that you forgive them for the stance they’ve taken against you. Open their eyes, let them really see you, and then let them repent and rejoice as they let your love become a part of their lives. Be merciful in this day, Lord, even though I know we don’t deserve it. I ask that you give us the opposite of what we deserve, give us an age of overwhelming mercy and love. Make a mighty move in this society, turn its eyes back towards you, Jesus, show them that there’s nothing to fear. They’re all so comfortable in their bondage because they know those masters, they’re used to the demands placed on them by the master known as sin. They just don’t know how good of a master you are, and the freedom that comes from casting off the old life and taking up the cause of Jesus. So Lord, I’m asking that you show them. Give this society a chance to gain the knowledge it lacks, feed the honored peoples of this nation, and give your living water to the multitude that is so desperately thirsty for it. Your word tells us it will get darker and darker as the final days approach. I hear that and accept it, but it does not change my prayer today. I will hope for moves of love and mercy until I am dead and with you in eternity. I know what Jonah knew about you, God, that you’re so biased towards mercy. You so badly want to pardon those who have stood against you. So I’m asking that you do just that. I know the end has to come some day, but please, not yet. I’m so sorry for all that we’ve done against you, for the atrocities that have become everyday occurrences, but I ask that you please grant us a wave of forgiveness. A mass pardon, a nationwide saving of souls that’s never before been witnessed. And God, I thank you for prayer. I was feeling down when I started this prayer, but just knowing that I’ve been able to speak with you and petition you with this cry for hope and mercy has lifted my spirits. Thank you that you are a good God, and thank you that I can trust fully in the knowledge that whatever happens next is motivated by love and for the good of your people. Thank you for all that you’ve done, all that you’re doing, and all that you will do. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.