Thursday: Psalm 9-10; Isaiah 3.1-12; 1 Thessalonians 4.1-12

From: Mark Booker

"For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence." Isaiah 3.8.

Isaiah 3 is a passage that recounts the solemn judgment of God against the sins of his people. Their society is broken down. Legitimate (and illegitimate) leadership is removed (vv.2-3), and immature leaders are put in their place (v4). This leads to rampant selfishness, to people looking out for themselves. Love of neighbor is gone (v5). Respect between generations evaporates (v5) and the process of choosing a leader is a despairing process that produces little results (v6-7). This picture of their society is sobering, and it's even more sobering that it resonates, at least in some ways, with our situation today.

How did things get this way? What is the root cause? Isaiah gives it in v8 (quoted above). Their speech and their deeds are against the Lord. Judgment comes upon the people because they have rebelled against the Lord, "defying his glorious presence." The people of Judah and Jerusalem have gone their own way, and blatantly so (v9), and they have done this before the all-seeing, always-present glorious God - defying his glorious presence (or, 'the eyes of his glory').

But God will not be mocked. We cannot reject him with impunity. His eyes are open. He sees and he will call to account. That's what Isaiah 3 is about - God brings judgment upon wickedness - and that's what our other readings today affirm. In Psalm 10, "He [the wicked] says in his heart, 'God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.'...But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands." And in 1 Thessalonians 4: "the Lord is an avenger in all these things." The Thessalonians had been solemnly warned earlier by Paul about this.

In Advent, we anticipate the coming of Jesus, and we prepare for his return and for seeing him face to face. But remember that even now God sees us. May we let the reality of the loving God's ever watching "eyes of glory" move us to think more carefully about what we say and what we do. Let's not be hardened by sin and defy him, and so invite God's judgment - as did the people of Judah and Jerusalem. But let's be moved by his grace and forgiveness and walk in holiness and love by the power of the Spirit, and so invite God's praise.