2020 has been a challenging year, and some Biblical Christians are afraid, praying for political leaders who will at least tolerate us. It could very well be that we are looking for the wrong friend. We can read of places and times remarkably similar to what is going on today, not only in the West, but wherever there is amoral chaos and confusion among people. One Christian-hostile cable news commentator described Americans as “mere sheep”. Maybe we are, but we sinful-by-nature humans also follow our own corrupt hearts. (Romans 3:23; 5:12; Galatians 5:17, et al) Isaiah lamented his fellow 8th/7th century B.C. Judeans as those “who walk by the light of your own fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches.” (Isaiah 50:11) and “… your princes are rebels [and your] daughters of Zion, haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes…” (3:16).
The prophet lived during the Assyrian takeover of Judah’s formerly northern, Covenant kinsmen Israel. Isaiah warned Judah against relying on Israel’s failed strategy of celebrating diversity, bribery, and appeasement of their neighboring enemies to lead them to peace.
Isaiah does deliver hope to his hearers, through the words of the Lord who calls His people back to Him: “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD… Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me.” (51:1) Not exactly a blanket invitation, but our Lord is no beggar, and He knew that the ancient Israelites would not be faithful because they sought glory for themselves, hoping to be popular, legitimized, and validated by people of the world, unbelievers and scoffers of the true God. Isn’t it interesting that God chose people who were not of Him to overthrow His own people with whom He made a Covenant? The Assyrians and Babylonians were not people of Yahweh. It is hard to find evidence in the Scriptures that God’s chosen have been faithful. But why would God be tolerant of evil from His own elect?
Through Christ, we, too, through repentance, can seek God’s ways—yes, His righteousness. (Matthew
In these evil days, we Christians should recall what Jesus asked His disciples, recorded in Matthew 16:13-20, “…who do you say that I am?” He is the Christ, yes, that Suffering Servant whom Isaiah prophesied (Chapter 53). Disciples of Christ should not expect to be loved by those who hate Him. We humans can neither provide our own light, nor should we fear godless men with torches. As one liturgy beautifully sings Joel 2:13, “Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Gloria Deo—Glory to God