It is helpful to not only study the successes but the failures of others. Sometimes, their bad examples can teach us what not to do. That is true of Israel in Isaiah 3-4. Here we learn that they made the following mistakes:
- Dishonouring the Lord (3:1-9). Their tongue and their doings were against the Lord. Everything they did was against the glory of the Lord. So, he said he would remove every support they had – their food and water and every capable leader. They only leaders they could find would be as simple as children.v.
- Oppressing the Poor (3:10-15). The Lord clarifies that He will reward the righteous, but the wicked will be punished. Here the sin he focuses on is that of the leaders. Instead of tending God’s people like a vineyard, they consumed the vineyard and spoiled the poor. They ‘beat [God’s] people to pieces’ and ‘[ground] the faces of the poor.’
- Walking in Pride (3:16-4:1). The wealthy women of Jerusalem are described in a way that probably typifies the people as a whole. They pridefully dressed themselves up, walking and looking around in a way that was flirtatious and attention-seeking. As a result, God said He would take away all their jewellery and fine clothing. Instead of beauty there would be burning. Instead of aroma, stench. Instead of nice hair, baldness. Their men would die in battle. They would be so desolate and ashamed, that they would beg for any man to marry them to try to take away their reproach.
As we consider these sins, we should examine our own hearts.
- Are we honouring the Lord in all we do and say? Do we live to bring honour and glory to God?
- What about our attitude toward the poor? Do we take advantage of others and those in need or do we give, care and protect the poor and needy? What about pride?
- Do we flaunt God’s blessings? Do we think we are better than others? Do we live a prideful life thinking we can do whatever we want, whenever we want?
The amazing thing is that for those who repent of their sin and look to the Lord, there is salvation, cleansing, and forgiveness. We see this promised for Israel on a national level in Isaiah 4:2-6. The Branch of the Lord (talking about the Messiah – Jesus Christ – see Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zech 3:8) will come. He will be beautiful and glorious and will set up His kingdom on earth. He will cleanse those who escape the time of judgement (7 year tribulation described in Revelation), and He will dwell with them in Jerusalem. They will be holy and protected.
The same salvation, cleaning and forgiveness