Prophecy against the Earth: Isaiah 24 (2)
Pray Psalm 8.1
O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Read Isaiah 24.4-6.
1. The earth is wasted. It mourns and languishes, and is defiled and cursed. What would that have looked like? How did it come about?
2. If we neglect God’s Law or transgress His covenant, what suffers? How far-reaching are the ramifications of our sin?
The people of Judah and Jerusalem, like the people of Israel to the north, had broken God’s covenant. They set aside His Law, compromised pure worship with all kinds of worldly accretions, and sought to rewrite their morality to fit the desires of their pagan neighbors.
God’s judgment against them was obviously just. He promised that, if they denied and abandoned Him, they would suffer judgment and disappointment in every area of life, and ultimately would be “vomited out” of the land of promise (Lev. 18.24-30). They had become sick with sin; their sickness made the land itself sick, and it would only be healed once the sickness of Israel and Judah was cast out from it.
We tend to think that sin only hurts us, and since God will forgive us anyway, we don’t think much about sin. That’s right where Israel and Judah were. Like them, we fail to see that our turning away from God, His Law, and His covenant has far-reaching and tragic consequences, even for the very earth we inhabit.
Governments are spending billions today trying to rescue the earth from the consequences of our sin. They can’t buy off God, however, Who is allowing the earth to fall into ruin because of our sinful self-indulgence. Unless we repent of sin and come back to the Lord and His Word, we will have neither the power nor the will to cease taking advantage of and corrupting everything we touch in order to spend everything on our selfish desires.
Israel and Judah learned this the hard way. We may have to as well.
1. Should Christians participate in conservation efforts? Explain.
2. How do God’s Law and His covenant guide you in caring for that portion of the earth which is under your control?
3. Disobedience to God has spiritual and cosmic consequences. Explain.
There is a kind of mutual bargain between the land and the husbandmen, that it gives back with usury what it has received: if it does not, it deceives those who cultivate it. But he assigns a reason, imputing blame to them, that they render it barren by their wickedness. It is owing to our fault that it does not nourish us or bring forth fruit, as God appointed to be done by the regular order of nature; for he wished that it should hold the place of a mother to us, to supply us with food; and if it change its nature and order, or lose its fertility, we ought to attribute it to our sins, since we ourselves have reversed the order which God had appointed; otherwise the earth would never deceive us, but would perform her duty. John Calvin (1509-1564 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 24
Search me, O God, and bring to light any sins that are lingering in my soul, so that…
Pray Psalm 8.
We are called to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12), to rule over everything in our world so that it can fulfill God’s good purpose and glorify Him. Pray about the day ahead, and how the rule of God in heaven will come to earth through you today.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 8 (Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
O Savior, how majestic, Your Name in all the earth!
The heav’ns display Your glory, and tell Your wondrous worth!
From babes and nursing infants, Lord, let Your strength increase,
Till all Your foes surrender, and all their boasting cease.
When I regard Your heavens, Your handiwork above,
Ordained by Your good pleasure, according to Your love,
Then what am I, O Savior, that You take thought of me?
Or I should know Your favor and thus delivered be?
Yet we in Your own image with glory have been crowned,
To worship and to serve You throughout creation ‘round.
These works that sing Your glory in our poor hands are placed,
That we may rule before You to magnify Your grace.
Let every beast and creature, in sky or sea or field,
In our hands bring You glory as we Your favor wield.
Let all things sing Your praises, let all declare Your worth!
O Savior, how majestic, Your Name in all the earth!
T. M. Moore
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Forward today’s lesson to some friends, and challenge them to study with you through this series on Isaiah. Each week’s lessons will be available as a free PDF download at the end of the week. Get a copy for yourself and send the link for the download to your friends. Plan to meet weekly to study Isaiah’s important message.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).