It is easy for us to get to a point where we become calloused for our nation or at least those around us who are sinning. We can become so bitter toward how people are acting that we actually want God to pour out His judgment on them. Isaiah’s reaction was not to get made but he would actually weep for the people because of the sins that they were committing.
Weep: to express deep sorrow for usually by shedding tears
Isaiah 10:1-2 Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression,2 to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
1) Weep for them because of the Sins of the Nation
Woe to those who pass wicked decrees
This was not just poor leadership this was a leadership that was intentionally hurting others for their own gain. Woe communicates a person’s deep sorrow over the death of an individual or a nation because of the unjust laws that leaders were putting in place for their own benefit. They were abusive to the poor which included anyone that had a disability that kept them from being able to get a wage. The Court systems were rigged in favor of the rich and they would prey on the widows and their vulnerability. The people that the leaders should have been protecting took advantage of them for their own gain and this is a serious offense to God who will judge them for not caring for the people He put in their care.
Our nation is giving into more and more sins and we have a responsibility to not become angry or indifferent but to be broken hearted for them. The world is walking in darkness and we are called to be a light but when people know that we are angry at their sin they stay away from us because most people cannot separate the anger over their sin from who they are. Our world teaches that who you are is what you do which is the opposite of what God teaches. Take homosexuality for example. Many will say that it is who they and for the first time we are designated by our sexual behavior rather than as an individual. Christians, right or wrong, have a reputation for not being loving. We cannot change everyone’s opinion but time spent praying and weeping over our nation will change our demeanor of the people we work and live around and will enable us to have the tougher conversations with them about how the sin they are committing is destroying their lives.
Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Jesus wept over a nation that was killing the very people God sent to them because He looked past what they were doing and saw how they were being deceived by Satan. What is your attitude toward our nation right now and some of the people you see on television? What is your view of a relative or coworker who is throwing their life away because of sin? Our hearts need to be broken for our world and not become so calloused that we no longer are sad when then their sins destroy them.
Isaiah 10:3-4 What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? 4 Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
2) Weep for them because of the Judgment of God
What will you do on the day of reckoning? Who will you turn to for help? Who will you leave your riches to?
Questions are to make us think and in this instance they are to make people think so that they can repent before it is too late. Christians use questions to make people think when they are talking to them so that people will evaluate their lives.
“If you were to die today and stand before God and He were to ask you why He should let you into Heaven what would you say?”
A simple question that I heard a man make fun of because he didn’t know we were going to have to pass a test before we get into Heaven. The point of the question is to get the listener to seek the true answer not to get an answer correct so that you can get into Heaven.
How would you answer this question about God letting you into Heaven? Your response will tell what you really believe and then you can look and evaluate it according to God’s word.
“How many people today, if asked why they are sure of their salvation, would answer, “I was baptized,” or “I was confirmed,” or “I go to church,” or I walked forward at the end of a church service,” or “I prayed a prayer with someone,” or “I was raised in a Christian home,” or “I raised my hand in response to a sermon,” or “I take the Lord’s Supper,” or “I did so many good things to help people”? (How Can I be sure I am a Christian, Donald S. Whitney, Pg. 15)
We may not think that death is around the corner and we may not want to talk about it but the reality is that each one of us is going to stand before God one day and so the ultimate questions that need to be answered is which religion is true and how can one make it to Heaven. One day every person will stand before God to give an account and there is only one way they will be acceptable to God and that is through Jesus Christ.
Acts 16:30-31 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
The foundation of Christianity is Christ and His work on the cross. The only way we can be accepted by God is by accepting the work Jesus did for us instead of trying to work to be in God’s favor on our own.
To add anything to the work of Christ is to demean His sacrifice on our behalf.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
“Faith Alone” we believe that it is not by our works that we gain righteousness but by faith in Jesus Christ. Some religions say that it is not enough that Jesus died on the cross you have to do things to finish His work of redemption. This is simply not true and it goes against what God’s word says.
A day will come when every person will give an account to God (Hebrews 4:13)
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
If we are accepted not by all of the things that were mentioned then we need to know what the will of the Father is. The will of the Father is not prophesying, casting out demons or doing mighty works it is believing that what Jesus did was enough.
John 6:28-29 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
People will stand before God and tell them all of the things they did but notice In Matthew 7:21-23 there is no mention of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The works mentality or at least not being a terrorist seem to make people think that they can get into Heaven on their own works or by being a decent person. If we are going to say that we are Christ followers then we need to follow the sayings of Jesus and Jesus makes it clear that the work of God is to believe in Jesus.
Are works part of the will of God? Yes but our works flow from the grace that we have been given through Christ on our behalf. Matthew 25 is clear that people served Jesus without even realizing it because it was part of their nature and they will be rewarded at the end of time for things they did not really know they were doing.
Isaiah ask them; “Who will you turn to for help? “
As we have been saying many people look to their works as the thing that will let them into heaven.
Christians do not point to their works because they simply point to the work of Jesus Christ and so they turn to Him.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
An advocate stands between the judge and the person being tried. As Christians we turn simply to Jesus Christ on the day that we stand before God who is the Judge and He will stand in on our behalf blocking us from the wrath of God.
Isaiah then ask them; “Where will you leave your wealth? “
The corruption that was taking place was to make some people wealthier and they were consumed with how much money they were making. We are a nation that is consumed with making money just like the nation of Judah and when our priorities in life become about making money for our own gain then we lose out on what our purpose is for the ability to make money. The blessings God gives us are always to be a blessing to others not just for our own benefit or gain.
Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
What is more important to you, your wealth or your relationship with Jesus? Our treasures will wind up on the junk pile one day and the only thing that will last is our souls. All our wealth will do nothing when we stand before God.
Isaiah warns them by saying; “For all this his anger has not turned away”
We talked about the wrath of God but the people will experience Gods wrath as He destroys Judah only saving a remnant of people. God’s hand of judgment is to first get people to turn to Him but when they don’t then He will keep the pain on in hopes that they turn to Him.
“If God cannot bring us to repentance through His word, then He must lift His hand and chasten us. If we do not submit to His chastening, then He must stretch out His hand and judge us. God is longsuffering, but we dare not tempt Him by our careless and callous attitude.” (Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe, Pg. 48)
We need to be careful to not take the discipline of God lightly. God will warn us but the longer we refuse to listen the more He will increase the pain. We need to be careful to not get in the way of what God is doing in someone’s life by removing pain that He is causing to get their attention. The most important thing in anyone’s life is if they have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ by believing in Him and what He did on the cross for us.
The questions Isaiah asked we all need to think about. What will you do on the Day of Judgment? Who will you turn to for help when you stand before God? What are you going to do with your riches? Because our nation and many of our friends and loved ones answer these things in the wrong way we need to weep but also tell them the truth. We need to have answers but we must also make sure that we do not become hard hearted toward the very people God has placed us around to help.