I see a castle, a huge castle, soaring up into the sky, projecting higher than the rolling cumulus clouds, the sun catching its turrets. “The king is in his castle”, is going over and over in my mind.
“I am not that sort of king – a king that has walled himself off behind fortified walls, who has separated himself from his subjects. They need to book an audience with him to be able to come near enough to hear him speak. When he speaks it is a one-way conversation. I am not like that, I have come down to meet with My subjects, to move between them, to communicate in a two-way conversation. To feel what they are feeling. My word is not like a wall that has been written on to keep you on the other side, only seeing what is written. My word is a gateway to Me. It is the means through which you can communicate authentically with Me. To see, feel, smell, taste everything about Me – so that you can explore My full riches. It is meant to draw you close to Me – so come here, so that I can envelope you with My Spirit and My love.”
Isaiah, chapters 4 & 5 are in my view today. While individual sins are carefully enumerated, it seems to me the that the underlying problem is pinpointed in 3:8b. Jerusalem and Judah’s sin is that their words and deeds show that they are “against the Lord, defying His glorious presence”. So while sin may manifest itself in many ways, there is an underlying disregard and rejection of God and His kingship. I think this is worth meditating upon. How often are we guilty of that? Even in a small way.
The picture then moves to a court room, 3:13 as the Judge takes His place. the Judge is identified as “the Lord” (Yahweh). I see also that the initial focus of His judgement is on the leaders, who are accused of ruining His “Vineyard”. Remember that we need to contextualize this as the “Church” today. While individuals may “drift away”, it requires the leadership to steer the whole ship in the wrong direction. There is, as I understand it, a continued spiritual attack on the leadership of all denominations as well as each individual church. Friends, the leadership should constantly be in your prayers.
Then we see an interesting repetition of the phrase “in that day”, (3:7; 18; 4:2). This is an expression used many times in the OT. It clearly reflects God’s warning that there will be a specific day when He will pronounce His judgement. No Zuma tactics will work. But when will this day be? Well, in the lives of the people that Isaiah was addressing it was coming soon, as the people were about to be taken as slaves and carried off to Babylon.
That was only a forewarning of the real judgement of God, which in a way has already come with Jesus. In Jesus’ death God has judged. Those who refuse to acknowledge Him will be eternally separated and those who acknowledge Him will be saved. The final “Day of he Lord” has not yet come and will only happen when Jesus comes again and the curtains of history are finally drawn. Remember we live in the “now but not yet”.
It is important to consider and understand that when Jesus died on the cross it was both an act of judgement as well as introducing his mighty act of salvation. That awareness should make us that much more grateful for our salvation than ever. The picture in the second half of Ch 4 is a beautiful forecast of what that day will be ushering in for those who have responded to God’s love. Notice at the end of ch 4, the picture reminding of God’s presence with His people during their travel through the desert. This points to God’s immediate presence with us today. Of course, through Jesus, who replaces the smoke and fire.
What is Jesus saying to me today? This is the same God who is still present today. No amount of denying or disregarding will reduce His power, holiness and purity. We must continue to fight for Him every day, even though the battle has already been won.