Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Great Reversal (Isaiah 3)

We are not promised the wealth and power of the world in the Bible. Instead, we’ve been rescued from our need to accrue its worthless and corrupted riches. In the satisfaction of a living God, all hierarchies and titles and systems of power no longer mean anything.

Isaiah 3:1-3 (ESV)
For behold, the Lord God of hosts
is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,
all support of bread,
and all support of water;
the mighty man and the soldier,
the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skillful magician
and the expert in charms.

Hierarchies and titles mean nothing outside of the blessing of God. All those who appear most powerful, who have any ability to control others, only have anything they have - skill, wealth, and power - because God allows it. By their arrogance they condemn themselves. When God's hand is removed from the arrogant, all the heights will be brought low, and the valleys raised. All they once believed was theirs is vanity. Justice will remove it and expose them as nothing.

Isaiah 3:13-15 (ESV)
The Lord has taken his place to contend;
he stands to judge peoples.
The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:
'It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?'
declares the Lord God of hosts.

The lives of the poor of a nation are the evidence of the corruption of the rich and powerful. The suffering of the most vulnerable is a testimony to the depth of corruption of the most comfortable.

Isaiah 3:24 (ESV)
Instead of perfume there will be rottenness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of well-set hair, baldness;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.

The upside down kingdom will reverse the order for those who choose worldly wealth and power on this side of eternity. The great trade has already been made. By the mercy of God we are offered true and satisfying life now, through union with Christ. All the riches of this world are stained with blood. The violence of the way of the world is exposed on the cross. The wealth of the wicked will become for them its own condemnation.

Next Tuesday: Isaiah 4 - Living Branch From The Living Tree
Tomorrow: 1 Peter 1 - Salvation and the End of Suffering

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