Indictment of Israel

I dreamed death came the other night and heaven’s gate swung wide. With kindly grace an angel fair ushered me inside. And there, to my astonishment stood folks I’d known on earth. Some I’d judged and labeled as “Unfit”, “Of little worth.” … More

Judgment

In response to the prayer of the previous chapter, where God speaks to the Gentiles who have come to trust in Him. He says that He now stands ready to answer those who were not asking and to be found by those who were not searching (v. 1). He has reached out to stubborn and sinful people going their own way (v. 2). He is angry at those who keep sneering at Him, by offering sacrifices to idols and burning incense (v. 3). They go through a ritual of eating pig meat cooked in sauces unfit to eat, while claiming to be dedicated to God and telling others not to come near them (vv. 4-5). He says He has written this down and won’t keep silent but will one day pay them back, just as their sins deserve (vv. 6-7).

However, in that judgment, a remnant will be preserved (vv. 8-12). As a few grapes are left when vineyards are gleaned (v. 8) (Deut. 24:21), so a remnant will be left who will return to the land, cultivate it, and pasture their flocks there again (vv. 9-10). Sharon, the coastal plain south of Mount Carmel, is excellent land for agriculture, and the Valley of Achor (Hosea 2:15) west of Jericho was known for its sheepherding. The reference to the holy mountain (v. 11) refers to the forsaking of the worship of the Lord at His temple.  On the other hand, people are destined for slaughter if they do not trust the Lord, and if they disregard the temple. This worship involved the offering of items connected with the peoples’ food and drink. Instead, these were being presented to pagan gods (v. 12). Fortune and Destiny were names of gods Israel worshiped in her attempts to know the future. Constantly reaching out to Israel, God revealed Himself to those who did not even ask for that revelation. Only because of His grace did He do so, even calling out to them, Here am I. Yet they did not respond. He was always ready to help them.

Application

God’s judgment for sin in my life is sure but the timing is according to His time table.

Isaiah 65:1-12 (English Standard Version)

I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, "Here am I, here am I," to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig's flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, "Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you." These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. Behold, it is written before me: "I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their bosom both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together, says the LORD; because they made offerings on the mountains and insulted me on the hills, I will measure into their bosom payment for their former deeds." Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, 'Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,' so I will do for my servants' sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for my people who have sought me. But you who forsake the LORD, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter, because, when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in my eyes and chose what I did not delight in."

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