God’s people wandering from Him is a repeated theme in Old Testament scripture. This theme repeats itself here in Isaiah 57. However, there is a uniqueness in this chapter that stands out to me from the myriad of other chapters and verses like it.
You can get lost in the stories of the Old-Testament Jews as they behave like the tides. Their passion for pursuing God burns hot and then gets cold. Each time they return to God though they seem to lose some of the essence, of God they had before. Until there is none left. They do this for a few thousand years until the great kingdom they built is utterly destroyed and the people dispersed.
We start the chapter out with Isaiah basically saying that the people have strayed so far from God that he is taking the righteous ones to be with Him in order to spare them from the evil around them. Isaiah 57:1 CJB
- 1. The righteous person perishes, and nobody gives it a thought. Godly men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous person is taken away from the evil yet to come.
- 2.Yes, those who live uprightly will have peace as they rest on their couches.
God is angry. He is going to judge His people so they will return to Him, but He doesn’t want the righteous to have to endure this judgement along with the evil. While we see many times God trying to get the attention of His people when they leave Him, we don’t often hear of Him sparing the righteous by calling them home. This time it’s different. It’s going to get rough.
The Israelites are sacrificing their children to the pagan god Molech. Isaiah 57:5 NIV
- You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.
We are not talking about ignoring God or His ways. These are not just sins of pleasure like adultery or drugs. They are not robbing banks to satisfy greedy desires This is the murder of innocent children to a non-existant god. None can benefit from these actions.
We could never fully understand how God’s heart must breaks. We can however, have some limited comprehension to gain perspective. What if those Israelite’s were sacrificing your children? Should you ask them to “please stop”. Would you write a binding resolution to express you dissatisfaction with their behavior. These people were not going to stop until God showed up in force. God knew the time for diplomacy was over. The people would no longer listen to the words of the prophet. So God acts. In the Bible According to Mike (a nearly inspired version) God says “Close your eyes kids. Daddy has to go to work”.
As always though, God connects a road to forgiveness leading a way from the path of destruction. The chapter ends with those who turn back to God receiving healing, and the wicked receiving no rest. I urge you to read this short chapter. I pray God uses it to speak to your life this week.