When A Nation Forsakes God – Isaiah 59:1-8
The words of the prophet Isaiah, spoken in the 8th century BC, is yet relevant for our present-day society. Judah, God’s chosen people, found themselves in Babylonian captivity and were perplexed as to why God who had delivered their ancestors from Egyptian bondage several hundred years earlier had not answered their prayers and speedily rescued them. After all, they were His chosen people and had continued in their allegiance to Him.
However, the words spoken by Isaiah plainly stated that Judah’s allegiance to God was not one of sincerity. Undoubtedly, the people went about acknowledging God in “name only” for their actions portrayed a lifestyle that failed to adhere to the commandments of God. In responding to their pleas to be rescued, the Word of God came and stated that His arms were not too short to deliver them, nor His ears too dull to acknowledge their cries for assistance. God was clearly stating that He had the capability to act beneficially on their behalf, but had chosen not to intervene in Judah's calamitous predicament.
So, what could have been the reasoning for God’s failure to assist His chosen nation? The answer spoken by Isaiah revealed that Judah had engaged in sinful conduct that was contrary to God’s character and what He had desired of them. Isaiah stated the people’s sins had brought about a separation from God, who was, is, and will always be Holy. Isaiah noted that the people had 1) shed innocent blood, 2) worked iniquity with their hands, 3) spoken lies, 4) uttered wickedness with their tongues, 5) devised troubles, 6) given birth to evil activities, and 7) pursued evil schemes. By engaging in their sinful activities, the people had failed to call for justice, to speak truthfully, and to seek peace with one another.
Does the historical environment which Isaiah addressed differ significantly from our present-day society? An emphatic “no” would be my reply and I believe that of many others as well. The political turmoil and societal divisiveness that confront our nation today can be traced directly to an abandonment of God and His ways. Simply using the "name of God" in our proclamations and contentions does not definitively state that God is indeed supportive of our activities. If we are going to speak of God being with and supportive of us, let it be consistently demonstrated via our love for one another, for God is Love. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Christian believers in Galatia to “do good to all people” (ref Galatians 6:10). Notwithstanding our ethnicities and many other differences, the Word of God has always called, is still calling, and will continue to call for all Christian believers to “do good.” Our nation and world will only experience an efficacious change when Christians demonstrably live out their beliefs in loving actions toward others. The storm clouds of spiritual and physical illnesses have gathered on the horizon, but will spiritual and physical healing occur?