God’s Word of Justice
Isaiah 24:1-23: Today’s reading is from a section of Isaiah sometimes referred to as the “Apocalypse of Isaiah.” It describes how God will act in the last days to judge the nations and win a victory over the forces of evil.
The Lord Will Punish the Earth
1The Lord is going to devastate the earth and leave it desolate. He will twist the earth’s surface and scatter its people. 2Everyone will meet the same fate—the priests and the people, slaves and masters, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, rich and poor. 3The earth will lie shattered and ruined. The Lord has spoken and it will be done.
4The earth dries up and withers; the whole world grows weak; both earth and sky decay. 5The people have defiled the earth by breaking God’s laws and by violating the covenant he made to last forever. 6So God has pronounced a curse on the earth. Its people are paying for what they have done. Fewer and fewer remain alive. 7The grapevines wither, and wine is becoming scarce. Everyone who was once happy is now sad, 8and the joyful music of their harps and drums has ceased. 9There is no more happy singing over wine; no one enjoys its taste any more. 10In the city everything is in chaos, and people lock themselves in their houses for safety. 11People shout in the streets because there is no more wine. Happiness is gone forever; it has been banished from the land. 12The city is in ruins, and its gates have been broken down. 13This is what will happen in every nation all over the world. It will be like the end of harvest, when the olives have been beaten off every tree and the last grapes picked from the vines.
14Those who survive will sing for joy. Those in the West will tell how great the Lord is, 15and those in the East will praise him. The people who live along the sea will praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 16From the most distant parts of the world we will hear songs in praise of Israel, the righteous nation.
But there is no hope for me! I am wasting away! Traitors continue to betray, and their treachery grows worse and worse. 17Listen to me, everyone! There are terrors, pits, and traps waiting for you. 18Anyone who tries to escape from the terror will fall in a pit, and anyone who escapes from the pit will be caught in a trap. Torrents of rain will pour from the sky, and earth’s foundations will shake. 19The earth will crack and shatter and split open. 20The earth itself will stagger like a drunk, sway like a hut in a storm. The world is weighed down by its sins; it will collapse and never rise again.
21A time is coming when the Lord will punish the powers above and the rulers of the earth. 22God will crowd kings together like prisoners in a pit. He will shut them in prison until the time of their punishment comes. 23The moon will grow dark, and the sun will no longer shine, for the Lord Almighty will be king. He will rule in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, and the leaders of the people will see his glory.
Today’s Key Verse: Isaiah 24:14, 15a
Those who survive will sing for joy. Those in the West will tell how great the LORD is, and those in the East will praise him.
According to today’s reading, all people, regardless of social standing, will be affected by the LORD’s time of judgment. How will the earth be punished? Why (verse 5)? What were your thoughts as you read this passage? Does this passage contain any words of hope?
Almighty and All-Powerful God, I turn to you, seeking your forgiveness for my sins. You, Lord God, are great, and I sing your praises. Help me to live my life in ways that glorify you. Amen.
Isaiah 26:20—27:13: A time of restoration is foretold.