Thursday, February 12, 2015

Listen to God Rather Than The Leaders

Isaiah 2:22-3:15

“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?  For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.  The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, The captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.” (Isaiah 2:22-3:2)

Like many today, Judah had placed their focus on their leadership and human government rather than on God.  Isaiah is warning them to get their focus off of man because he is going to take away the things they have taken for granted.  There will be a drought and famine and government collapse.  The legal system, the military forces, the religious establishment, the educational system, and the economic system will all collapse, destroying the society they have known.   

“And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.  And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.  When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand: In that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing: make me not a ruler of the people.” (Isaiah 3:4-7)

Their leaders will be like capricious little children with no concern or awareness for the consequences of their decisions, but only for what they want at the moment.  Social restraints and moral standards will collapse, with people taking advantage of others, and a loss of respect for other people.  they will look for someone to take the responsibility and blame for the state they are in.  Those who are mature will refuse to take the responsibility, realizing that if they can’t even take care of their own business, it is certain they don’t know how to fix things for the whole nation. 

“For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.  The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” (Isaiah 3:8-9)

The collapse is to be the result of turning away from God.  They openly speak out against God’s standards and refuse to obey his commands.  They adopt the symbols of their sin and flaunt it in public, like the Gay Pride marches in the United States today.  By their actions they have condemned themselves to God’s judgment. 

“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.  Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” (Isaiah 3:10-11)

God has promised to take care of those who do right, because they will receive the reward for what they have done.  The wicked will also be rewarded for what they done, but the rewards will ultimately be destruction, rather than blessing.

“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)

God’s people had reached a point where their lives were controlled by the demands of their children or dictated by their wives rather than being directed by God.  By encouraging them to let these control their lives, the preachers and political leaders were teaching them to do wrong and follow other paths than God had intended. 
“The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.  The LORD will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses.  What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isaiah 3:13-15)

God will plead with the people to turn to him and judge them accordingly.  He will pronounce judgment on the older people and leaders who have used their positions to take advantage of the poor and weak to rip them off and enslave them, holding their nose to the grindstone. 

While people will be held accountable for their own actions, their leaders will be accountable for how they have led the people.  James 3:1 warns, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”  Leaders will be held to a higher standard of behavior because they have been given a higher level of responsibility.   Punishment for wrong doing will be more severe.  One should consider the level of responsibility before undertaking a position of leadership.

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