I’ve been reading Isaiah again. One of the things I’ve noticed is that Isaiah—or several “Isaiahs”—seems to be bothered by more than apostasy, heresy or idolatry. Something else is grabbing and shaking his (their) soul.
It seems to me that Isaiah is also railing at the breakdown of the social fabric—in Judah and Israel, but extending to the various empires adjoining the limited geography in which he worked. What bothers Isaiah to the core—requiring prophetic utterance—is that the spiritual framework had thinned to the point where its ripping and tearing had left gaping holes. Places where the false premises of idolatry—for Isaiah, the incredible stupidity of idol-making—had become acceptable ways to live. What may have been previously unthinkable for God’s people—ostensibly bound to the Law—had become widespread immorality in the economy, government and personal relationships. Isaiah minces no words in condemning these attitudes, behaviors and identities—and also pronounces God’s judgment. (Yes, repentance would mitigate these matters, revealing the predominance of God’s love!)
It’s possible that some of Isaiah’s revelations came from being old. After decades of watching spiritual life dissolve, Isaiah just had enough. And so his calling emerged: If you see something, say something. Certainly about dangers coming to the entire nation (and world), but also the natural results of sinfulness coming to ordinary people. God’s wrath growing. Unimagined punishments raining down on leaders, kingdoms and nature itself.
Two thoughts for older folks like you and me: What do we see in today’s world that’s very similar to what Isaiah experienced? And what are we willing to say, however stark or straightforward those words turn out? Is it possible that prophetic utterance is part of our calling as we grow older?
So you know: I’ll keep reading for answers….
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