8You are in for trouble! You take over house after house and field after field, until there is no room left for anyone else in all the land. 9But the Lord All-Powerful has made this promise to me:
Those large and beautiful homes will be left empty, with no one to take care of them. 10Four hectares of grapevines will produce only 27 liters of juice, and 180 liters of seed will produce merely 18 liters of grain.
11 You are in for trouble! You get up early to start drinking, and you keep it up late into the night. 12At your drinking parties you have the music of stringed instruments, tambourines, and flutes. But you never even think about all the Lord has done, 13and so his people know nothing about him. That's why many of you will be dragged off to foreign lands. Your leaders will starve to death, and everyone else will suffer from thirst.
14The world of the dead has opened its mouth wide and is eagerly waiting for the leaders of Jerusalem and for its noisy crowds, especially for those who take pride in that city. 15Its citizens have been put down, and its proud people have been brought to shame. 16But the holy Lord God All-Powerful is praised, because he has shown who he is by bringing justice. 17His people will be like sheep grazing in their own pasture, and they will take off what was left by others.
18You are in for trouble! The lies you tell are like ropes by which you drag along sin and evil. 19And you say, “Let the holy God of Israel hurry up and do what he has promised, so we can see it for ourselves.” 20You are headed for trouble! You say wrong is right, darkness is light, and bitter is sweet.
21You think you are clever and smart.
There’s an old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That saying quite accurately reflects my assessment of today’s scripture reading.
Isaiah looks at his world – his city Jerusalem – and points out its faults. He sees a society of great disparity with wealth flowing to those in grand houses, while others are left without. He sees a let’s party society that shuns responsibility and the knowledge of God. He sees a city and a society that is proud of its sin – proud rather than ashamed or repentant.
Isaiah sees a society that calls wrong right and darkness light. It’s a society that thinks it’s clever because it has rejected the wisdom handed down through the ages.
How is Canadian society different from the society of Isaiah’s day? We have high tech gadgets and communication, but the attitudes and issues are identical. Twenty five centuries have passed, but the heart of humankind remains the same. Humanity’s addiction to me-first selfishness has not changed. Our built in resistance to God remains intact. Pride blocks any thought of repentance.
We are in trouble! It’s trouble that we have brought on ourselves. Will God’s judgment fall as it did on the people in Isaiah’s day?
I have no definitive answer to that question. It’s beyond my power to change a society. Isaiah was a voice calling for change within his society, but in his day change did not come. The only one I have the power to change is me, and even then I need God’s help.
LORD God, like Isaiah, help me be a voice for change in Canadian society. But first I need to change. Help me to rid my heart of me-first selfishness through the love of Jesus. Amen.