Friday, February 1, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 22

This week has been a big week for repentance in my life. My home church here in Indianapolis is in the middle of a sermon series on the book of Revelation right now, and on Sunday we touched on the issue of repentance. Repentance really doesn't mean anything if it doesn't spark a change in actions or behavior. The point of repentance is not that you are sorry for sin, but the real value comes from the change that results from that repentance. Without this, the forgiveness we are granted is meaningless.

This message is echoed in chapter 22 of Isaiah, as it is a prophecy against the city of Jerusalem itself. By this time, Jerusalem had almost totally lost its way from the Lord. They had turned from God and not only were intent to rely on themselves for all things as previously mentioned, but they had turned from God by continue to live and even glorify their sins. What we see here in chapter 22 is the judgment for this sin that God has in store for Jerusalem.

 2 O town full of commotion,
       O city of tumult and revelry?
       Your slain were not killed by the sword,
       nor did they die in battle.

 3 All your leaders have fled together;
       they have been captured without using the bow.
       All you who were caught were taken prisoner together,
       having fled while the enemy was still far away.

 4 Therefore I said, "Turn away from me;
       let me weep bitterly.
       Do not try to console me
       over the destruction of my people."

 5 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day
       of tumult and trampling and terror
       in the Valley of Vision,
       a day of battering down walls
       and of crying out to the mountains. – Isaiah 22:2-5

These are very strong words used by Isaiah, but they illustrate just how much God hates sin. Jerusalem is God's chosen city, and this illustrates what was in store for her when the Babylonians would eventually conquer her. It is important to remember, however, that it is not the sinner that God is punishing here. He is still a loving God that is not willing that anyone should perish. His judgment here is more of a last resort, as he had tried to remind people of his love before this to no avail. This is a judgment borne out of discipline, not out of hatred. God often uses our own sin as a way of getting our attention when He wants us to learn something.

This has proved to be especially true in my own life, as some of the most important lessons I have had to learn were as a result of my sin and God forcefully getting my attention to make me turn away from it. This is where the lesson of repentance can be learned, or it can be ignored. Jerusalem had ignored this lesson, and as a result, was stripped bare by the Babylonians almost without a fight. I, in turn, saw the result of my sin and had it stare me in the face on numerous occasions. Eventually, I chose to not live my life in opposite to what God has planned for me and changed what needed to be changes. I am far from perfect in this, but I at least know I am pointed in the right direction. Those that had to face the judgment of Jerusalem here in Isaiah 22 weren't as lucky.


  1. Why did the Lord not want to be consoled about the destruction of His people?
  2. How important is the allusion to Jesus as ruler of Jerusalem at the end of the chapter?
  3. What is your own definition of repentance?

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