11 Aug 2020 - Isaiah 22
Daily Devotion 11 August
ARROGANCE AND UNREPENTANCE WILL LEAD TO DESTRUCTION
Isaiah delivers a prophecy of destruction to the people of Jerusalem in this chapter. God was angry with the disobedience and sin of the people of Jerusalem. He warned them, through Isaiah, that their enemies would invade and destroy them (v5-7). The people of Jerusalem tried to prepare themselves for this by collecting weapons, storing water and strengthening their walls (v9-10), but they did not to look to God for help (v11). They failed to understand that this destruction was planned by God, as a result of their unrepentance. In giving the people this warning, God gave them the opportunity to repent and to show remorse for what they had done (v12). Unfortunately, they decided to carry on doing what they liked, as though there would be no time of accountability. Their reply to Isaiah was,” Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (v13). They were shameless in their unrepentance and they were going to die in this woeful state. They did not seem to care about God, and they showed contempt to Him and to His prophet Isaiah. God saw the unrepentant state of their hearts and revealed to Isaiah,” Till your dying day, this sin will not be atoned for” (v14). Reading this passage makes me think that the people of Jerusalem had unbelievable cheek! However, once I have thought about this further, I realise how often I have seen this kind of contemptuous behaviour towards God and the people He uses to rebuke others. Do you pay attention when God rebukes you? Or do you disregard His rebuke and reject good advice in order to carry on doing what you want?
God wanted to teach the people humility and to bring them to repentance. He wanted them to realise who had enabled them to build their city and who had blessed them with what they had. Sadly, the people showed great contempt towards God. They did not believe that God would bring justice, or perhaps they were too proud to believe that they were subject to His judgement. Shebna, the palace administrator, gets a special mention here (v15-16) as a man so full of pride and vanity, that he has made himself an elaborate grave high above the city. He had built himself a special resting place after death, to reflect his “high position”, without having any regard to his soul. The Lord warned him that He was about to destroy him and his expensive possessions (“the chariots you were so proud of”) would become a disgrace to his master’s house. Shebna had clearly decided that his worth was in his high position in society and in his outwardly show of wealth. He was full of self-importance. He had failed to look to God and to seek God’s guidance in his leadership duties, but instead took vain pride in his own supposed “greatness’. All these earthly things that he so valued would become meaningless in his death.
God then revealed that he would raise up His servant Eliakin son of Hilkiah and hand Shebna’s authority over to him. God told Isaiah that “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (22). This “key” is a prophetic key that is also mentioned in Revelation 3:7. The holder of the “key of David” is in fact, Jesus. This is a prophecy of salvation from our sins and the great redemptive hope that would come in our Lord Jesus Christ. “He (Jesus) would become driven into a firm place, and become a seat of honour in His father’s house. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots – all its lesser vessels…” (v23-24). Therefore, those who cling onto Jesus will become part of God’s family and be saved. Whereas those who hang onto the false peg, which is vanity, pride and unrepentance will fall and be cut down (25).
What is the relevance of this scripture in our lives?
It reminds us that we should have an attitude of gratitude and repentance towards God, instead of contempt and pride. We need to acknowledge that God provides us with everything we have. We should pay attention to him and be obedient to His word and guidance. We may have God’s favour and blessing upon our life, but He can choose to remove these things as He sees fit. We should not fall into the trap of thinking that we are so smart, so powerful, or so “great” that we can outwit God and His will. We should constantly be mindful that the punishment of sin and unrepentance is death and destruction. However, the good news is that we have the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ in our life, if we choose to humble ourselves, repent for our sins and submit to God. We can trade death and destruction for salvation and becoming part of God’s family. What a great exchange! Will you submit to God and accept it?
Father God, forgive us for the times we have failed to look to you for help and guidance. Forgive us for our pride and vanity. Forgive us for the times we have behaved with contempt, arrogance and unrepentance. Help us to fear You and to hang our hope and trust on Jesus Christ. Thank you, God for our salvation and redemption through Jesus. Amen.