People flock to our nation by the thousands each year looking for freedom and prosperity. It is not overpopulation that is destroying our nation. Our nation is being destroyed from within. The Old Testament nation of Israel, in Isaiah’s time, drifted away from God. Our nation is drifting away from God and from Christianity and Christ. Notice in verse 1 that God calls heaven and earth to hear what He is saying about the spiritual condition of His nation. Psalm 33:8-9 reads, “Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (KJV). The whole earth is called to fear the Lord. Let’s take a brief look at our nation using Isaiah 1 as our guide. Examine for yourself that our nation needs to return to God.
Israel was rebellious in soul. “They have rebelled against Me” (Isaiah 1:2). Not only had they gone against His Word and authority (the word “rebelled” implies this), but they broke away from God. It was God who nourished and brought up this nation. They quarreled and transgressed. Our nation is also breaking away from God.
Israel was ignorant in mind. “Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (v. 3). The blight of ignorance had affected the mind of their understanding, and a want of consideration of the Lord and others was the outcome. The nation had become ignorant of its beginnings and the purpose for its existence. The nation’s stupidity was compared to the ox and the donkey. These animals understood where their feed was coming from, but the nation did not recognize God.
Israel was sinful in life. “Sinful nation” (v. 4). Not only were they full of sin which made them sin to the fullest, but they were a failure in everything, for the word “to sin” means “to miss the mark, to be a failure.” The Bible says, “He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul” (Proverbs 8:36, KJV). We are not a good nation if we have missed God.
Israel was heavy with iniquity. “A people laden with iniquity” (v. 4). The word “iniquity” suggests perverseness and faults. The sin of perverseness destroys everything. When we have the twist of ill intent, our whole being will be wrongly bent, and then we bend under the load of consequences.
Israel was evil in conduct. “A seed of evil doers” (v. 4). The evildoing proves the door is wide open to evil. The word “evildoer” signifies one who comes in an evil manner to break up things, or one who brings calamity and injury to others. When one is a waster he is always a wrecker. To be a cesspool of iniquity is to be a breeder of disease, and thus to contaminate the entire nation. The word is translated “ill waster” in Isaiah 54:16, “destroying” in Jeremiah 51:1, and “battered” in 2 Samuel 20:15. A destroying wind which kills the sensitive plant is a fit simile of one who mars another to his destruction. A waster is always a woe-begetter.
Israel was apostate in their acts. “They have forsaken the LORD” (v. 4). The word “forsaken” means to loosen yourself from God, and when you do, you leave destitute. To be a traitor and unfaithful is to be guilty of the blackest sin of hell. To be untrue to the truth we know to be true is put yourself almost beyond forgiveness.
Israel was provocative in speech. “They have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger” (v. 4). To “provoke” means “to treat with contempt.” It is joined with hatred and malignity. Heart murmurings, slumbering discontent, grumbling speeches, and a chafing spirit are always displeasing to the Lord. There is a lot of this in our nation.
Israel was insulting in attitude. “They are gone away backward” (v. 4). To turn one’s back to the Lord was a direct insult to Him, but to have “gone away” or to be “alienated” or estranged from Him is to add injury to insult. The word might be paraphrased, “Ye have turned your back to Me, and have treated Me as if I were a stranger.” To deliberately cut one off without cause is to be guilty of bad manners and an arrogant temper.
Israel was sick in head. “The whole head is sick” (v. 5). The word “head” here means “the source of things” (as in, the head of a river or nation), and “sick” signifies to be worn down in strength (to be in a condition of weakness and inability). When there is no power in the source of things, how can the rest of the plant perform anything? The want of moral fiber is the doom of any nation, and we see this in our nation.
Israel was false in worship. Their sacrifices were not a “delight” to the Lord. Their ablutions were “vain,” their incense (praise and worship) was an “abomination,” their assemblies were “iniquity,” and their keeping of the feasts was hateful, a “trouble.” God was “weary” (vv. 12-14). When rottenness is in the heart, ritual is an offence and a sin to the Lord.
Israel was prayer-less in prayer. “When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (v. 15, KJV). When you ask for things when your hands are full of blood, God will not regard your prayers. Is God listening to the many intercessions today?
God is saying in verses 16-17, “Get clean, put evil away. put evil doings away, cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek right judgments, relieve the oppressed, and help the fatherless and the widows.” The next verses teach that if you obey, you will eat the good of the land. If you disobey, you will have war.
Pastor George Belobaba
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