It’s a crazy, seemingly out of control world we live in. And perhaps seems more so to those of us who are a bit older. Who have a point of reference of three or four decades ago when, while not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, things just seemed a bit more sane, perhaps a bit more predictable. The lines between right and wrong seemed clearer. The debate between this ideology and that ideology seemed more civil. The respect for most people by most people seemed greater. Feels like some of the restraints of a bygone era–whether true morality, a sense of generally accepted propriety, or just accepted political correctness–have been cast off, and life is being lived larger, louder, and with less-and-less regard for others. Like I said, seems out of control at times.
I’ve been reading in Isaiah the last couple of days and already the themes of rebellious sin, divine judgment, and yet, future promise, are coming through loud and clear. And I wonder if the latter days in Judah, when people had grown accustomed to doing what was right in their own eyes, weren’t somewhat similar to our current day.
They had so mastered sin that they hauled it about like a cart with ropes, “cords of falsehood.” They called “evil good and good evil”; darkness for them was light and light was being called darkness; that which once was considered sweet was now deemed bitter, and bitter was now called sweet. They had grown accustomed to living life in an intoxicated manner such that the guilty got off easily with a bribe and the innocent were deprived of what they deserved. And all this, ultimately, because they had “rejected the law of the LORD of host,” and had “despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isa. 5:18-24). Out of control!
And true to the prophet’s call, Isaiah warns them of the “anger of the LORD” being kindled against His people (5:25). That though they did not “regard the deeds of the LORD or see the work of His hands” (5:12); though He was out of sight and out of mind; through He seemed a non-factor in the affairs of men; that the LORD of hosts would be “exalted in justice,” and the Holy God would show Himself “holy in righteousness” (5:16).
And here are the prophet’s words I’m chewing on this morning:
He will raise a signal for nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
(Isaiah 5:26 ESV)
When the time came for God to judge Israel, when it was time to say, “Enough is enough,” and send them away for an extended timeout, when God was ready to raise up the surrounding nations to discipline His chosen people, He would simply whistle and the nations would fall in line with zero resistance. Didn’t matter where they were or what they were doing, when God raised the banner they would fall in line according to His purpose.
A reminder this morning of the sovereign power of our God. That in a world seemingly out of control, He is always fully in charge. That His will and purposes are just a whistle away.
A reminder there is no chaos that God cannot bring into order. No rebellion that He cannot curtail. No destruction that He cannot restore. And all with simply a whistle.
A reminder our God is patient, not willing that any should perish, so He waits (2Peter 3:9). He is kind, and is working behind the scenes to lead men and women to repentance (Romans 2:4).
But make no mistake, He is not absent. He is not disengaged. In fact, He commands all things–all people, all leaders, all nations–and will fulfill His divine purposes, according to His divine timing, all for His divine glory. And it’s just a whistle away.
I can count on that. I can rest in that.
By His grace. For His glory.