29 October – 4 November 2017.
It’s a good feeling to make plans. We sit down and think of the future, think of the great things we want to do, the places we want to visit, the things we want to achieve. It makes us excited, and it fills us with expectation for the good things that are about to come. But that’s why when our plans fail, it hurts us so much. The hope and excitement we had disappears, and all we are left with is disappointment.
In Isaiah 5, God talks about his own deep sense of disappointment. God had chosen the Israelites because he wanted them to be a blessing to the whole world. His plan was that Israel would work for justice and righteousness, and that they would partner with God to make a positive change in the world. But as we read in v. 7, the result was only bloodshed and tears. God had hoped for so much with Israel, and in the end he was so deeply disappointed.
Instead of being a blessing to all nations, Isaiah tells us how the Israelites pushed the poor local people out of the country so they could claim the whole land as their own. They feasted and ignored the needs of the poor. They supported all kinds of unfairness, calling evil good, taking bribes, perverting justice, destroying the law, and depriving the innocent of their rights. Is that how they co-operate with God?
It may be tempting to point a finger at Israel here for all their failings. But we must not forget that God established the church with the same plan and goal in mind. We in the church are also supposed to work for justice and righteousness, to be a blessing to all nations, and to be salt and light for the world. But are we fulfilling God’s plan for us?
Isaiah warned Israel that God would destroy them because they decided to chose injustice instead of working for goodness. And the Bible writers wrote down this story because they wanted us to learn from Israel’s mistakes.
Every day God calls us to co-operate with him, to be again the blessing he always wanted us to be. That doesn’t need to be too difficult. When we share a kind word with others, when we support those in need, when we are a friend to those who are alone, and when we push our country’s leaders to always act with righteousness, justice, and fairness, that’s when we are living up to the purpose that God gave us: to be a blessing to the whole world.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis