In our study of Isaiah chapter three, we look at the effects of rebellion against the leadership of God. This chapter reminds us of what life is like when we turn our backs on God and go our own way.
See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support; all supplies of food and all supplies of water, the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
In chapter two, we saw how God's people chose to worship the things that they had made and to turn their back on God. Now, Isaiah starts to describe God's answer to this rebellion. The people had forgotten that it was God who sustained them and now they were going to see the effects. Isaiah was basically telling the people that, since they wanted to run their own lives, they were on their own. The same is true of us today as most people are going around ignoring the fact that God created all things and not allowing God to lead them.
I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them. People will oppress each other- man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable. A man will seize one of his brothers at his father's home, and say, 'You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!' But in that day he will cry out, ' I have no remedy. I have no food or clothing in my house; do not make me the leader of the people.'
Isaiah describes the nation after God removes his favor from them. It is a time when people without wisdom (children) lead them. They will search for a leader to get them out of their situation but no man can do so. It sounds very similar to our situation in the world today. Each election cycle, the people search for hope in another man and his promises but, in the end, nothing will change until the hearts of the people turn back to God and his ways.
Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves.
Isaiah describes how the people are denying God and are unashamed. Disaster has come upon them and yet they do not repent and turn back to God. They do not even try to hide their rebellion and so God's judgment is coming. The same description would apply to most countries in the world today as it seems everyone has turned their back on God and his commands. Many openly mock the word of God and laws are made approving sinful conduct.
Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done.
Hope is offered here for the righteous as God judges the people. Instead of the entire community being judged together as was normal, now there is a separation of the righteous and the wicked. Each will answer for their own actions. The same is true for us today as it does not matter what church or group you belong to, the judgment is based on an individual right relationship with God.
Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path.
The reference to youths refers to people without wisdom (because wisdom comes from God) and having women rule was a sign of weakness (as women did not go out to battle). Isaiah laments that these weak leaders that lack wisdom are leading the people astray. They are teaching the people to do things that do not glorify God. The same could be said of our world today as most leaders have turned their back on the very word of God and so lack wisdom.
The Lord takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people. The Lord enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: 'It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?' declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
Now, Isaiah begins to tell of the judgment on God's people who have turned away from him. The judgment begins with the leaders of the people and Isaiah quotes the words from God concerning them. God explains that it is the leaders that have ruined his people (vineyard) by stealing the very word of God from them and keeping it for themselves. The question that God poses to the leaders can also be applied to each of us as Christians. We are all called to be disciples and leaders by example. It is our duty to share the word of God with the poor (lost) and, if we do not, is just as if we were "grinding the faces of the poor".
The Lord says, 'The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, tripping along with mincing steps, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald.'
Now, Isaiah describes the judgment on the women. He describes how they walk around teasing the men and leading them to commit sin. They are so proud of their physical beauty but Isaiah tells how God will remove their beauty by taking their hair and causing sores on their head. This same description could easily be used for many of the women of today. The beauty of women is used to sell everything and they are taught from an early age to use that beauty to get whatever they want.
In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and ankle chains and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls.
Isaiah then goes on to list many of the things that the women have began to worship. He says that "in that day" which is referring to the day of judgment and explains that God will remove these things on that day. We may say that we don't worship these things and it does not apply to us but just look on television and magazines. Our society could easily be described in the same way that Isaiah is describing these women.
Instead of a fragrance there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-dressed hair, baldness; instead of fine clothing, sackcloth; instead of beauty, branding.
In this verse, Isaiah contrasts what the women would have with God and what they will have without God. The once proud women will now be put to shame.
Your men will fall by the sword, your warriors in battle.
Now, Isaiah turns to the judgment on the men. Since they have turned their backs on God, they will not have him with them in battle and they will be defeated.
The gates of Zion will lament and mourn; destitute, she will sit on the ground.
The final judgment in this chapter is on the city itself. The result of the people turning their back on God is that the city itself will suffer. The same can be said of the USA and some other countries today. Since we have turned our back on God, the country has lost its blessing from God.