Isaiah tells them the nation is getting ready to fall and the reason is because of the sins they are continuing to do. I cannot repeat myself enough that these are church people who are tithing, worshiping God but whose lives are not honoring to God by how they are treating their fellow man.
Not only are they living lives unpleasing to God their worship has also mixed in other religious practices and other gods that go against how God commanded them to worship.
Sin is anything that goes against the nature and character of God. Our society wants to define right and wrong based on our own standards but it is God who establishes what is and what is not a right and wrong based on His Character and Holiness. Our society does not like the word sin and so we call things mistakes or bad habits instead of calling them what God calls them which is sin. Although we like to define what is and what is not a sin in our own life we know what is a sin when someone does it against us. If someone steals from us we say it is wrong but if they say they were stealing because they were hungry then they may say it is not a sin. The reason we cannot leave it up to us individually or even as a nation is because our standards of right and wrong change depending on the situation. With God was right and what is wrong are consistent for all of eternity.
One of the proofs that there is a God or Creator of the Universe is because we know lying, stealing, killing and cheating are wrong. How could a world that came from evolution have so many people who believe that murder is wrong? Because we are made in God’s image He implanted in us His moral code although many times we ignore it. If it is really left up to the individual or to a nation what is right and wrong then people like Hitler would not be wrong. They are wrong because right and wrong are based on God and God alone not on the individual, the nation or the time period we live in.
God establishes what is right and what is a sin and we do not get to pick and choose, but pick and choose is exactly what was happening in Isaiah’s day and pick and choose what is a sin is happening in our world as well.
Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.[d]
1) Sin is destructive
“Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen”
Most people will not see how destructive a sin is until it is too late. The problems we have in every area of life are because of sin which ultimately is because of selfishness or living for self instead of living for God. Stumble is a term used to describe someone who was so badly wounded that they began to fall down from their injuries. If you picture some of the old movies when someone gets shot and they slowly die because of their wounds. The Bible is clear what the consequences of sin are.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin is destructive but because we do not always experience its destruction right away we tend to keep on sinning thinking that sin does not affect us. Adam and Eve were told the same lie when they were told you will not die by the serpent, a lie many of us are told when we give into the temptations of sin. The first consequence of sin of course is our separation from God which we all suffered when Adam and Eve sinned but we also suffer consequences of sin by the destruction it causes in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The way Isaiah wrote it was as if it already took place even though it would take place in the future. God can see the final outcome of our sins and actions and what many people think is God trying to keep them from fun is really God trying to keep them from destruction.
Christians are called to confront sin, (Matthew 18) Restore people from sin (Galatians 6) and even turn them over to Satan in hopes of their soul being saved(1 Corinthians 5). We are not to take sin lightly because it took Jesus dying for our sins in order for us to be in a right relationship with God.
“Defying His Glorious Presence”
God who had revealed Himself to His people was purposely being ignored and they were worshiping Him how they wanted and they were calling sins not by Gods standard but their own. Sin goes against God and so when we sin, even if we think we are not hurting anyone, is really against God.
1 Peter 1:14-15 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
We have a tendency to put God on our human level instead of seeing God as Holy and perfect something we probably cannot fully understand this side of Heaven. We ignore that God has revealed His Glorious presence in His word (The Bible) and shows us the standard by which we should live. We do not see God for who He is but when we do we will have the same reaction that Isaiah did in chapter six when Isaiah cries out in fear because He sees God as He is in a vision God gives him. Holy, Holy, Holy is how God is described but Isaiah also saw himself the way God sees him which is an unclean man. As Children of God we should not be openly refusing to obey God and what He has clearly said in His word even when the world tries to change God’s standard of Holiness.
Isaiah 3:9 -12 For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 12 My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up[e] the course of your paths.
2) Sin will become commonplace
“They do not hide it”
Their sin was done in public for all to see and so Isaiah compares them to Sodom which is one of the cities God destroyed for their sins (Gen 18-19)
Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord.
They have forgotten how to blush meaning their sin is no longer is an embarrassment to them. You can sin to a point that you are no longer embarrassed by what you are doing. There are many sins in our nation that a decade ago would have been an embarrassment to people but now they are done publicly as if they are normal behavior. The people will bring punishment on themselves because they have allowed these sins to continue and they will be punished because of the consequences of the sins and also when they stand before God.
“Woe to the wicked for what they have dealt out will be paid back to them “
One of the things we are guaranteed in this life is that God sees all that is going on. So many times life seems unfair and it seems that the wicked are prospering and getting away with their treatment of others. Many in our society see people in politics and wonder why they are not in jail but whether or not they are held accountable for their wrongs on earth they will give an account before God.
Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Just like in Isaiah day there were innocent people being hurt by the sins of others but we can rest knowing that God saw it and no one is getting away with anything. This does not mean there is not grace because anyone who surrenders to Jesus Christ will receive full forgiveness of their sins no matter how bad they are. The women who were ruling were evil women like Jezebel in the North (1 Kings 18) and Athaliah in the south (2 Kings 11). Isaiah wanted the people to know that God will pay them back for all the evil they had done.
“Your guides have misled you and swallowed up your paths.”
Isaiah felt sorry for them because he said “My People” because those who should have known the way and have confused the path or made the path unknowable. We are seeing this in our churches when so called Christian leaders are not teaching what God has commanded but are confusing people so they do not even know where to go for the truth. Just because someone has the title pastor does not mean they are leading you the right way. The Apostle Paul addressed a man in the book of Acts and accused him of leading people away from God.
Acts 13:8-10 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
(Jesus warned us about false teachers and prophets in Matthew 7:15; 24:11; 24:24
You may like the preacher or teacher but you still have to check to make sure they are not leading you down a path that is not of God especially when they longer call sin what God calls sin.
3) We must avoid sin
(vs10) Tell the righteous it will be well with them.
It must have been discouraging for those who were trying to live for God to suffer consequences because of the sins of others. God wanted the righteous to know that they will be rewarded for how they lived in this life in the life to come. It is easy when it seems that everyone is getting away with stealing to steal and it is easy when it seems that everyone is cheating to cheat, but God calls us to a different standard and that is to not give into the sins of the world.
Some of the rewards we are promised are found in Matthew 5:12 which says we will be rewarded if we are persecuted for living Christ. Matthew 5:46 which says we will be rewarded for loving the unlovely and Matthew 6 tells us we will be rewarded for giving, praying and fasting in private.
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
One day we will stand before God and everything we did that no one even knows about is seen by Him whether good or bad. Our sins will be forgiven but what we take into eternity will be the things God rewards us for sacrificing here on earth.
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
We need to lead people to the truth by staying on the path of righteousness and showing them that they are believing a lie because many false teachers are making it difficult for people to see which way leads them to God. People need to hear and see the truth because many people are on the path to destruction and they do not even know it. Many people are so engrossed in their sins they cannot see that it is destroying them and the country they live in.
We have to be here for people to not just tell them the truth but to walk with them as they overcome the hurt and pain that sin has caused. Our nation will be destroyed because of sin but we are called to be the ones who live in this world showing people the truth. May our lives be lived in such a way that people know who they can go to when they realize they are living a lie.