God's Final Word | Isaiah 26

Welcome to Real Life. Can we handle the truth?

I will ignore you so hard,
you will start to doubt your own existence.

In the early 2000’s, money was easy to come by. Predatory lenders targeted low-income home buyers who could never realistically repay those loans. Rules were bent. Truth was ignored. But ignoring a problem doesn’t resolve it. The housing bubble popped. The Financial Crisis of 2008[1] plunged our nation and world into a severe depression.

Could it happen again? You bet. Because we live in a culture that doesn’t value truth, especially negative truth. Don’t tell me I can’t. Tell me how I can. Give me good news. Entertain me. We are children unwilling to heed a parent’s instruction.

In the prophet Isaiah’s day, Israel had stopped listening to their Father-God. So, he sent Isaiah with an unpopular message. Judgement is coming. Because God loves us passionately, he disciplines us. He allows trials, pandemics, wars, sickness, and economic hardships. For when life is easy and comfortable, we tend to grow easy and comfortable. But in desperate situations, we grow desperate for God. We remember how to pray.

When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
Isaiah 26:9

Israel refused to listen to Isaiah’s warning. “Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions…stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”[2] But ignoring a problem doesn’t resolve it. Judgement came. Babylon conquered Jerusalem and led God’s people away into captivity.

Instead of ceasing to exist, the issues we ignore tend grow into “a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly”[3]—like the 2008 housing bubble. Unfortunately, I have a bit of experience with this. Maybe you do, too. Because we all have flaws and weaknesses we tend to ignore until…anxiety overwhelms us. Debt drowns us. Alcohol poisons us. Overwork strangles us. Gluttony ensnares us. Selfishness renders us sad and alone. Fear paralyzes us. Perfectionism controls us. Unforgiveness hardens us. Rage consumes us. Immorality sears our souls. What is it that we ignore? What comes between us and our God?

Judgement will come. We will reap what we sow. But this doesn’t mean God has abandoned us. It’s precisely the opposite. He allows hardship to teach us righteousness, to remind us how to prayer. And when we do, God stands ready to help.

How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 26:19–21

Judgement is not God’s final word. His final word is redemption. God miraculously rescued and restored his people. Israel stands as a nation today.

The Bible is filled with positive, encouraging, life-giving words! But sometimes those life-giving words take the form of rebuke and judgement. Because those are the words we need to hear. When judgement comes, will it teach us? Will it lead us home to God? The choice is ours.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.[4] 

Take it further…
  • Not every hardship is God’s judgement. We live in a world broken by sin. Because of that, innocent people often suffer. The people of Ukraine are suffering unjustly. We stand with them in solidarity and prayer.

Image: Man Praying by Canva
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%932008  
[2] Isaiah 30:10-11
[3] Isaiah 30:13
[4] Psalm 139:23–24


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