Face to Face with God: How do you plead?

face2face_websiteIs 3:1-3, 8-12; 5:8-25

Throughout Is 3-5 God identifies several groups of people at which he launches a strong, emotive expression of his sadness, disgust and sorrow over their choice of lifestyle. The result does not make for pleasant easy-listening. It is the context for Is 6:5 “I live among a people of unclean lips”.

1.Sexual deviance

In Isaiah 3:9 the Lord identifies the deep sexual deviance and sensual recklessness of the nation. The emotional inner lives of a whole generation have collapsed and it has resulted in a lifestyle that the Lord can only liken to the doomed inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Abraham (Genesis 19). In their minds there were few, if any, detrimental consequences for such permissive lifestyles (Rom 1:18-27).

2. The absence of mature leadership and the abdication of men

There is a dearth of mature, wise political and spiritual leadership and the absence of men of principles (Is 3:12).  To me, Isaiah’s point is that there is simply an absence of strong men, rather than making a comment about the role of women. Men have abdicated their responsibilities. Men have retreated into a preoccupation with distracting and trivial pursuits and forsaken their families, their jobs, and in some cases, their nation. 

Today, millions of unwanted pregnancies, countless broken marriages, hundreds of thousands of single parent homes, fatherless children, serial relationships, more abuse of women and escalating harm to children than ever before, along with abortion on demand.

Add to this the crime on our streets, mostly committed by children under seventeen years of age who emerge from loveless homes that have never seen a father, and what a legacy we’ve inherited! We have sown to the wind and reaped the whirlwind.

3. Rampant capitalism

God curses greedy land grabbers who are focused only on building their own little empires by property acquisition and points out what will be the end result of their greed (Isaiah 5:8-10). When nations turn to greedy land and property acquisition in economically unstable times God says that they will not live to enjoy their wealth nor do any good with it. In fact, they are headed for an economic crash of unspeakable proportions.

4. Clubbing and partying culture

God warns the binge drinkers, clubbers and partygoers, those who, like their descendants in our society today, spend their whole time planning their "big night out" at the weekend and give no thought to God whatsoever (Isaiah 5:11-12).  Isaiah is describing what is going on in every bar and night-club across our nation.

We have allowed a culture to develop that has an escapist mentality which says, "Yes, I’ll try to hold down a nine- to-five job during the week, but at the weekend I’m going to go crazy!"

5. The arrogance of wealth

The next target is those who think that their wealth gives them all the security they need. (Isaiah 5:15-19) The fate of those who have accumulated vast personal fortunes and private estates, but who have no regard for God, is spelled out.

6. Secular morality

We have changed the price tags in our nation. We have traded God for bargain basement perversion. We have turned godly principles on their head and we celebrate that which is despicable and lamentable (Isaiah 5:20).  As a character in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov argued, ‘If God does not exist then everything is permissible”.

7. The priority  of self

There are many in prominent positions today – philosophers, scientists, secular humanists, politicians, atheists – who are wise in their own eyes and have much to say, much to teach us, but who do not espouse the wisdom of God (Is 5:21).

This is the context today of Spiritual Warfare.

Our task then, as the people of God, is not to make the Bible more relevant to society. God’s wisdom is infinite and unchanging. Jesus said, "My words will never pass away" (Matthew 24:35). It is time we lined up with reality as God’s Word timelessly describes it to be, and began, as the people of God, to get angry about the things that God himself is angry about. Angry with our own compromise and sin, and angry with the sins of our declining cities, as our wickedness rises like a great smell before God.

The good news is that there is a river running through the Body of Christ in the heart of our nation today, and it can clean up a city and a nation if we will cooperate with what God is doing and bring people to the only source of health, renewal and change – the Lord Jesus Christ.

But first we have to see the problem, because only then will we hear the call. It is only men and women who have stood in the presence of God and said, "I am a man or woman of unclean lips … I live among a people of unclean lips … and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of glory", who will ever make that radical difference.