God’s Word of Justice
Isaiah 9:8—10:4: Today’s reading describes the destruction of Israel, the northern kingdom, in 722 B.C. by the Assyrians. This description is to serve as a harsh warning to Judah, the southern kingdom, that it will experience similar judgment if it does not change its ways and return to the LORD.
The Lord Will Punish Israel
8The Lord has pronounced judgment on the kingdom of Israel, on the descendants of Jacob. 9All the people of Israel, everyone who lives in the city of Samaria, will know that he has done this. Now they are proud and arrogant. They say, 10“The brick buildings have fallen down, but we will replace them with stone buildings. The beams of sycamore wood have been cut down, but we will replace them with the finest cedar.”
11The Lord has stirred up their enemies to attack them. 12Syria on the east and Philistia on the west have opened their mouths to devour Israel. Yet even so the Lord‘s anger is not ended; his hand is still stretched out to punish.
13The people of Israel have not repented; even though the Lord Almighty has punished them, they have not returned to him. 14In a single day the Lord will punish Israel’s leaders and its people; he will cut them off, head and tail. 15The old and honorable men are the head—and the tail is the prophets whose teachings are lies! 16Those who lead these people have misled them and totally confused them. 17And so the Lord will not let any of the young men escape, and he will not show pity on any of the widows and orphans, because all the people are godless and wicked and everything they say is evil. Yet even so the Lord‘s anger will not be ended, but his hand will still be stretched out to punish.
18The wickedness of the people burns like a fire that destroys thorn bushes and thistles. It burns like a forest fire that sends up columns of smoke. 19Because the Lord Almighty is angry, his punishment burns like a fire throughout the land and destroys the people, and it is each of us for ourselves. 20Everywhere in the country people snatch and eat any bit of food they can find, but their hunger is never satisfied. They even eat their own children! 21The people of Manasseh and the people of Ephraim attack each other, and together they attack Judah. Yet even so the Lord‘s anger is not ended; his hand is still stretched out to punish.
1You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. 2That is how you keep the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. 3What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth? 4You will be killed in battle or dragged off as prisoners. Yet even so the Lord‘s anger will not be ended; his hand will still be stretched out to punish.
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 10:2a
You keep the poor from having their rights and from getting justice.
How has the LORD punished Israel? Why are the people described as “godless and wicked” (9:17)? Reread 10:1-4. Why is Judah doomed? What injustices are cited? Do similar injustices occur today?
Lord God, you are righteous and just in all your ways. Inspire leaders to govern with justice; and where there is discord, stretch forth your healing hand to bring reconciliation and restoration. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Isaiah 24:1-23: The LORD will punish the earth.