Sometimes demolition is necessary before a better building can be built. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the will to rebuild the spirit. In today’s reading in Isaiah there are certainly judgments that are leveled at Israel’s neighbors for their idolatry and arrogance, but there’s also a vision of hope for their future, one that is tied to Israel’s brighter future. There are good lessons here for us to mull over. Let’s see…
“A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, And a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; Moreover, he will seek justice And be prompt in righteousness.” Isaiah 16:5 — In spite of the fact that Moab now had its own set of gods, despite the fact that God was going to destroy them to the point that they would be small and weak (16:14), a time was coming, Isaiah prophecies, when Moab would come asking for advice, counsel, and righteous judgment from the Chosen People. Such justice would, Isaiah says, from the “tent of David”, another way of saying the Messiah. Demolition for building something better.
“For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god.” Isaiah 17:10 — Here’s a great metaphor for a corrupted religion, a delightful plant into which someone has grafted a slip of a poisonous plant. God’s “delightful plant” — the religion found in the Law, and later the church — needs no man-made addition, no grafting of human tradition, teachings, or philosophies. It’s like adding a Jew’s harp to a Beethoven concert, or putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
“At that time a gift of homage will be brought to the LORD of hosts From a people tall and smooth, Even from a people feared far and wide, A powerful and oppressive nation, Whose land the rivers divide– To the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, even Mount Zion.” Isaiah 18:7 — There was coming a time, Isaiah said, when even nations as far away as you can imagine (Ethiopia in this case), will come bearing gifts to the LORD and His people. And it happened, not just through the indirect hands of the Persian empire who did help rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, but in a more important way with the coming of the Christian era — when peoples from all nations came to believe and obey the Lord Jesus. And it would all come after the demolition of nations had occurred: via the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, and the Romans. Sometimes demolition is necessary before a better building can be built. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the will to rebuild the spirit.
There are things to think about for our own lives, too, aren’t there? Why do trials occur? Maybe its just some demolition happening before the better building can be started. Maybe a stubborn will has to be broken, before a beautiful spirit can be constructed.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.