God Will Remove the Leaders
In this group of verses, we see the word Lord used in two different translations. The first time we see the word Lord in Hebrew the word Adonai which means master, owner, and sovereign. This is a broad word and can be used in human terms, as Landlord, and as the Lord God the ultimate Master. The second time we see the word Lord it is printed in capitals, (LORD) This use of the word Lord is translated from Hebrew and is Yahweh. This is the sacred name of the Triune God and in Strong’s reads self-Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God. The term the Lord of Host is used often by Isaiah and emphasizes the majesty and power of God. God the Lord of Host is the Commander in Chief of the heavenly armies.
In the King James Version, this opening reads, “The Lord, the LORD of hosts” and means the Master of all, Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies. Therefore it is Yahweh that has taken the food and water from the city of Jerusalem and from Judah. The people would do well then to get right with their God. Isaiah uses this language to terrify the sluggish minds of the people. The glory of the Lord God must be expressed to arouse the attention of the people.
People think how can a God of love take away their food and water? How can a loving father take his child to the woodshed? As God’s judgment is far worse than the lack of food and water. “The mighty man and the warrior, The judge and the prophet, The diviner and the elder, The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the expert artisan, And the skillful enchanter. And I will make mere lads their princes, And capricious children will rule over them.”
This prophecy was fulfilled and can be read in the book of 2 Kings 24:14. But this was not all as He carried all of Jerusalem into captivity. All their captains and mighty men, ten thousand captives, and all of the craftsmen and smiths. Only the poorest of the land remained.
The same principles of God’s judgment endure to this day. He may bring judgment on a nation by cursing them with incompetent leaders. This would give the people the kind of leadership that their wicked heart’s desire. Poor leadership can come to a nation even in prosperous times. The effects of poor leadership are subtle and may not be quickly seen. In time the people will know as incompetent leadership brings oppression of the people.
Oppression brings a breakdown in order of the society. The children will not have respect for the elders and neither the base of society towards the honorable. “For there is hardly any conduct more offensive, or more fitted to disturb our minds, than when the worst examples of every sort are publicly exhibited by magistrates, while no man utters a syllable against them, but almost all give their approbation.” (Calvin)
Times will become so bad that even the smallest of achievements will qualify a man for a leadership position. “It is astonishing how realistically the prophet is here able to describe the consequences of a total collapse of the state. Anyone who remembers the months that followed May 1945 in Germany will have the sensation of reading this passage of being carried right back to these days.” (Kaiser, cited in Grogan)
It is easy for us to understand our actions as offensive to the Lord. For the most part, we can control the actions that we take. It is harder for us to understand that what we think is also provoking the eyes of the Lord’s glory. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.” (Proverbs 23:7) We are commanded to glorify God by what we say just as much by what we do. “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37) “Impure propensities are particularly legible in the eyes: whoever has beheld the face of a debauchee or a prostitute knows this; of these, it may be said, they wish to appear what they really are. They glory in their iniquity. This is the highest pitch of ungodliness.” (Clarke)
It is important that our outward appearance is decent. Some will speak of the many sins they have committed as a badge of honor. This is not only revealing but is damaging to the inner soul. This is also harmful to the Church gathering and can cause a bad reflection upon the Church. The Church should live to a higher perfect standard even though the Church or the world can’t live up to that standard, it is still the goal. “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” (Ephesians 5:12)
The world has given the Church the lie that it is hypocritical not to live up to the standard they have set before them. None have not twisted the truth into a lie yet it is proper to teach our children not to lie. Our society has many standards that tower over us but there is only one true standard we are to strive to meet. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) The charge of hypocrisy is a false charge towards one who is striving to meet a standard that he has not met perfectly. Hypocrisy is when you pretend to meet the standard when you do not or think it is fine if you fail to keep the standard. “The maintenance of external decency is at least some evidence of a conscience not altogether seared.” (Jennings)
When the Lord gives a nation the leadership they deserve it can be a blessing or a curse. In the time of Isaiah, the leadership they had was a curse.
Even in times of judgment, God knows how to care for His people. There are times when people think that God has abandoned them, but we must not live in a worldly perspective. Sometimes the provision is only seen in the eternal perspective. The righteous will never share the same fate as the unrighteous. Abraham had faith in God and that is where he placed his trust. “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:25)
The Lord will justify and give the reward of a man’s deeds. He will justify both the righteous and the unrighteous and reward them as they deserve. For the righteous, this is a great comfort but for the wicked, it is a curse. “It shall be ill with the wicked, and let no present appearance lead you to doubt it . . . The eyes that never weep for sin here will weep in awful anguish for ever . . . It will be a profitable thing for thee to feel the wrath of God heavy on thy spirit now, for if not, it will crush thee, crush thee down and down without hope, world without end. It shall be ill with you.” (Spurgeon)
The woman will rule over the men and in the culture of the day, this was seen as a curse. There are times that God raised up women at certain times to be leaders. Some of the more prominent are Deborah, (Judges 4-5) and Esther is examples of this. This is a different situation that women would rule over the whole of society and it is seen as a curse and not a blessing.
God Will Judge
The Lord God will stand to plead for the poor as a prosecutor and a judge over the people of Judah. If you find yourself in a court and the prosecutor and the judge are one and the same you will know that you will be found guilty. We see here that it is bad to crush the poor but it is much worse to profit and enrich themselves by taking advantage of their poverty.
Judah’s Women Denounced
The daughters of Judah were a proud people. They were taken in by themselves and thought of themselves as better than they were and were haughty towards others. Their proud hearts was the foundation of their sin. “To meet their unfounded accusations, he lays open the inward disease, which is manifested in the whole of their outward dress.” (Calvin) The true woman of God is called to humility and are to esteem others as better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3)
The women walked about with wanton eyes. They were sexually seductive. They were desiring of what was not pure for sexual pleasure. “What he adds about wandering eyes denotes shameless lust, which for the most part is expressed by the eyes; for unchaste eyes are the heralds of an unchaste heart, but the eyes of chaste women are sedated, and not wandering or unsteady.” (Calvin) The contrast is that women of God are called to be discreet and faithful to their husbands. (Titus 2:5)
The women of Judah had an obsession with the fineness of their luxurious living and all the accessories of their jewelry. They spent much of their lives devoted to their own image and appearance. To make an emphases Isaiah makes a list of the accessories that the women of Judah devoted too much of their time to. This love of luxury and the obtaining of it is not particular to women only. Many a man has a problem with it also. But it is a problem amongst many women. “It is worthy of notice that the Prophet had a good reason for reproving, with so great earnestness and vehemence, the luxury of women; for while they are chargeable with many vices, they are most of all inflamed with mad eagerness to have fine clothes. Covetous as they naturally are, still they spare no expense for dressing in a showy manner, and even use spare diet, and deprive themselves of what nature requires, that their clothes may be more costly and elegant. So grievously are they corrupted by this vice that it goes beyond every other.” (Calvin)
In contrast, the woman of God is to live in modesty. “Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
The selfish obsession the women had for their appearance, their love for the luxurious life, and their promiscuity made the daughters of Judah ripe for God’s judgment. Their crown will be as a scab, which will replace their beauty and then they will be exposed and humiliated. In the days of Isaiah, these judgments were connected to the coming invasions. This would cause a scarcity of resource and the proud daughters of Judah would become sick and diseased. The invaders would rape and humiliate them and their fine jewelry would be taken away.
The role of the woman in the rearing of their children is important and a woman of God must live as a woman of God. When the women become degenerate then all hope for the future generation is lost. When the women of any culture turn to the Lord then there is a great hope for the future generations. “In short, both men and women are instructed to make a sober use of the gifts of God, both in food and in clothing, and in the whole conduct of life. For the Lord cannot endure extravagance, and absolutely must inflict severe punishment on account of it; for it cannot be restrained by a lighter chastisement.” (Calvin)
All the finery that the people had become accustomed to will be replaced by the marks of captivity and humility. We often take for granted the blessings of the Lord who has given us all that we have. He is able to provide for our needs and He is able to take them away. “He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21) This then is a great reason to honor God with what we have instead of selfishly indulging ourselves. “Now there cannot befall us anything worse than that we should be hardened against chastisements, and not perceive that God chastises us. When we labor under such stupidity, our case is almost hopeless.” (Calvin)
The daughters of Zion adorned themselves to attract the men of their desire. In their ungodly love of luxury, they suffered the loss of their men. In the future, there would be a Roman medal that shows a Jewish woman, desolate and sitting beneath a palm tree next to a Roman soldier.