Isaiah 1.21-31 — What happens when a nation turns against God?

What happens when a nation turns against God? Despite all that God has done to be patient with people, showing them the right way and teaching them what’s wrong, there has been no change, either in attitude or behavior. Like milk left out in the sun, what was once good has turned rotten. The first thing to go is not the economy, the arts and sciences, or the military, but justice. It’s because when people turn away from God, they start to live for themselves, and once they do that, both power and money become priorities, and the first things to suffer in that case are justice and righteousness. “But we are such a religious country!” Yeah, people will continue to worship and pray and read their Bibles, but they live a double life and behave carnally outside of the walls of the church. There’s a separation between religion and public life.

There is also a reversal of values. That which is valuable (character, righteousness, purity, and godliness) has been made worthless. The last has become first and the first last, but not in a good sense—only in the sense that now money and power, prestige and image are what count.

Where leadership fails, the nation perishes. God had a habit and pattern of bringing his revelation of himself, and his bringing people to spiritual maturity, by raising up leaders. Moses, Joshua, David, as well as all the judges, prophets and apostles, as well as people like Nehemiah and Esther, were all leaders that God raised up to accomplish his work. God does much of his work through godly leadership. When leaders fail, all fails. That’s why it’s so important to obey leaders who are over us: it’s how God does his work. And the leaders have a deep responsibility to do things right, and in godliness. And the people have a responsibility to follow them. It’s how God works.

It’s also true in government. Romans 13 tells us that government has been established by God to keep nations and people moral and righteous. And when the government fails to do its God-ordained work, the nation fails and is judged by God.

Here we read what is all too common in government: power, pride, theft, crime, and money, catering to interest groups rather than to the true work of government: defending the cause of the people who cannot bring about justice for themselves. God expects us to fix it, but if we don’t, and we (believers) get caught up in it too, then God moves in to take care of it, and us, himself.

God’s intent is to punish ungodly leaders, thus warning their replacements to shape up and fly right. But the human heart is desperately wicked, and power is corrosive. Where are the righteous leaders to God to raise up, and what will keep them righteous once they taste power?

Verse 25: “I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.” Here we see God’s heart again. His purpose is not to destroy, but to restore. Sometimes, though, the best way to restore, when things have gotten so rotten, is to start over. But he will start over with what he has, even if it’s not perfect. Those who will stand with him, he will start the long and painful work of refining by fire. Suffering and difficulties await, but those who endure to the end will shine like the stars in the universe (Phil. 2.12-13, 15).

God will redeem his people in a way that shows his holiness, righteousness, and justice. Rebels and sinners will both be broken. “You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water” (30). An oak with fading leaves is an oak that is dying and will lose its vitality and strength. A garden without water is a garden that is dying. It may look good, but it will soon lose its vitality and life. So goes the country who turns their heart against the Lord.

26 thoughts on “Isaiah 1.21-31 — What happens when a nation turns against God?”

  1. America that was founded for God’s Glory has turn away from God to worship a Godless President they CHOSE knowing this lawless man boasted of not needing God’s forgiveness because he himself was without sin = being equal to God and now this same President declares he is the peoples king when boasting he has an ARTICLE II that gives him that right .

    1. Thank you for your comment, Janet. We have certainly seen America turn away from the principles on which it was founded, and we have also seen in recent decades that it has turned away from God. A sad, sad, time. Isaiah 1 is like reading God’s comments about what we write in the newspapers.

  2. You are so right Janet, Obama was horrible….thank God we have a President who cares about Christians now

    1. many there are that have eyes and ears and neither see nor hear . I thought there couldn’t be a worse President than the Clintons ,until Obama and I thought surely there will be none worse than Obama until Dictator praising ,9/11 Saudi Muslim lover of the religion of Islam “I don’t need God’s forgiveness” I could take the life of another human being before witness in cold blood and not be held accountable, “The BEAUTY of me I’m really rich” ” I like using other peoples money ” I love getting even with those who do not swear their loyalty to me . “Take the Guns no due process of law”,Anti-Constitution , tyrant wantbe be king , “I have an ARTICLE II I can do what ever I want ,I’m above everyone, Socialist Democrat Trump who is Johnson, Carter ,Clinton and Obama on steroids .

      1. Janet, thanks for your comment. It’s certainly true that the leaders of a nation are an important part of what the nation is like and what direction the nation goes in. It’s Isaiah’s point in several texts that the leaders set the tone, and can be very much a part of the nation’s success or failure.

        1. I’ll admit, I never received a comment like that before. What leads you to think that I’m mentally ill? Let’s talk about it.

      1. Thanks for you comment. I never said or implied that God put only Republicans in office. I’m not sure where you got the idea that that only Republicans were God’s choice. In reality, though, Romans 13 teaches us that God ordains the idea of government, but is not responsible for putting every political leader in his or her position. While Daniel 2.21 indicates God is involved in political affairs, it still doesn’t imply that every leader is in their position by fiat of God.

        Let’s discuss it. Where in the Bible do you get that God puts every President in his or her position?

  3. Reading this on July 5,2020. Last night I was asking the Lord what’s going on, and I saw ever so briefly a picture of Him turning His back on the nation. A week or so ago He showed me a picture of faces turned away from Him and He was trying to turn them back but their necks were too stiff. Lord help us!!! Something is coming, Lord hello us to be ready, forgive us and have mercy Lord!!! Father give this nation another chance, raise up Your people to speak to them! Have mercy Lord! In Jesus’s name I ask this

  4. The Democratic Party just had their convention and two things happened they put a Muslim to say the pledge alligence and fail to say Under God they also put a person to recite it with the American flag and next to it the lgbtqi flag and it fell to the floor. God who not let them have their way!

  5. God commands to choose Godly leaders not choose between two deceivers .
    God commands to choose Godly leaders and would not command we do that if He,God didn\\\\\\\’t provide them. I chose Ted Cruz in 2016 because unlike Dictator praising,9/11 Saudi Muslim lover Socialist Trump ,Cruz involved God in his daily life and the affairs of the office he served the people,, Note I\\\\\\\’m not claiming Ted Cruz was perfect,their are none perfect ,but I believed Cruz to be Godly based on his tract record (History) .
    The people chose one of the two Satan provided ,and soon after Ted Cruz walked away from the moral standards he had lived by and joined the others in tooting Trump\\\\\\\’s horn.
    Many who voted for Socialist Trump against his long time friend Liberal Clinton did so because they chose the lessor evil..Now I\\\\\\\’ve been reading the Bible, God\\\\\\\’s Holy Word from the time I repented 8/1985 ,believed and received Christ Yeshua as my Savior and \\\\\\\”Lord\\\\\\\” and no where did God command when a group of Godless people select two evils that we are to choose /elect one of the two, but that is what the people did,and they did it again in 2020 and spoiled ,affluenza Socialist Trump who has always got what he wanted by Bribing,Lying and Whining ,lost and then took it on himself to command his sworn loyal RepubliCrats , those of his army of Domestic Terrorist to wage war on US by storming over Capitol Police and ceasing the nation\\\\\\\’s US Capitol ,causing some to die and others to be injured.Had this stiff necked people chosen one God provided we wouldn\\\\\\\’t have arrived to where we are today,,Yes I know Americas been drifting far from its Christian founding ,but not like it did in 2016 ,when evangelicals and other Christian leaders who once stood for Faith & Family ,Take Back America AFA and other Christian Or,and I a Christian Conservative supported them,for they loved what God loved and hated what God hated. I never once thought that those like Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, Bryan Fischer, Mike Huckabee and a number of others who this long time professing the Lord\\\\\\\’s Name would have ever fallen away ,Evangelicals like Robert Jeffress , Franklin Graham ,Jerry Falwell… Bryan Fischer of Focus Point on Face Book said Trump\\\\\\\’s Evangelical support was orchestrated by Satan ,and soon after that Fischer joined the rest tooting Trump\\\\\\\’s horn.I\\\\\\\’ll leave those who have willing chose to defend and praise Trump who boasted I don\\\\\\\’t needs God\\\\\\\’s forgiveness .claiming he too was without sin equal to God, and boldly claimed \\\\\\\” The BEAUTY of me I\\\\\\\’m really rich\\\\\\\” Trump who boasted he could take the life of another human being and not beheld accountable.TRump who boasted \\\\\\\” I\\\\\\\’m greedy greedy greedy,I\\\\\\\’ve been greedy all my life\\\\\\\” \\\\\\\” I like using other peoples money\\\\\\\” Trump who boldly boasted in our face that he fell in love with Communist N Korean Kim ,leader of the N Korean the most Christian restricted nation who hates America,hates and kills Christians, starves many to death,they still defend and praise this Godless man who said that he wouls US be like North Korea (Communist) and that the people in America weouldf be to him like N Koreans are to their leader Kim ( forced to worship Communist Kim and his family ,if a Christian is heard mentioning Yeshua they are killed because no one is above N Korea\\\\\\\’s leader Kim .Trump boasted he takes the word /Advice of foreign leaders ,and just months ago boldly boasted \\\\\\\” I can do what ever I want ,I\\\\\\\’m over every one\\\\\\\”
    I think God has stopped providing Godly leaders because the people mock Him by choosing Godless leaders .God said \\\\\\\” A nation that turns from Me I will not protect\\\\\\\” I know God keeps His promises All of them. Liberal Biden is not worse than Socialist Trump ,but Biden like Trump supports Abortion, LGBT and Same Sex Marriage. No Biden is not a win for Christian founded America ,but a sin against God . God have mercy for we are without excuse.

    1. Janet, thanks for your comments. I guess it’s fair to say you feel strongly about this! 🙂 I agree that God does not ask or command us to choose between ungodly leaders. I never see in the Bible where the lesser of two evils is God’s ordained way. I also agree with you that Ted Cruz seems to be an honorable man (by my observation, anyway).

      We’ve been through a very difficult 4 years, but I’m not optimistic about the years ahead of us. We just watch with holy grief over the leaders of our country are doing. What would be the best thing we could do is fall to our knees in humility and repentance and seek God with all our hearts. (We know that’s not going to happen nationwide, but we do pray for a revival.)

      Thanks for talking to me.

    2. there are people who will see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear, where the right is wrong and the wrong is right to them. May God protect Trump , bless him and give the strength to endure the difficult times

  6. Seems that Janet has strong disturbing rants and accusations against President Trump. Was very disturbing to read.
    Whereas the very high majority of true born again Christ believers have been incredibly Thankful that the Lord had Pres Trump in office to stand strong arm in arm with Israel as their strongest ally and has rallied so strongly for Christians and our beliefs!!
    Actually have never ever heard or seen a single true believer have barely a negative thing to say about President Trump.
    Think that Janet is actually a Wolf in sheeps clothing and concerned for this person. Will glad to truly pray for this person.

  7. Jesus says that he put leaders in place. ROMANS 13:1
    Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.

    1. Glad to talk about it, Scott. Actually, Romans 13.1 says that God instituted the idea of government, not that He has put every leader in place. “God has established authority” is what the text says, not that God has put every leader in their position. John Yoder, in a book called The Politics of Jesus, say, “God is not said to create or institute or ordain the powers that be, but only to order them, to put them in order, sovereignly to tell them where they belong, what is their place. There has always been hierarchy, authority, and power. Its exercise has included sinful acts ever since sin has existed. In his ordering God does not approve of what government does. Nor does He take the responsibility for what they do. He orders them, brings them into line, that by his permissive government he lines them up with his purpose.”

      The text says, “The authorities that exist have been established by God,” not that every leader has been placed there by God. A.T. Robertson comments, “Paul is not arguing for the divine right of kings or government, but for government and order.” Chuck Colson, in Kingdoms in Conflict, writes, “The state serves a divinely appointed and divinely defined task, although it is not in itself divine.”

      Yoder, again: “The text does not affirm, as the tradition has it, a divine active institution or ordination of a particular government. It is not saying that each individual government and/or each individual ruler has been put there by God. By saying that, you would be saying that every ruler has God’s stamp of moral approval, which is not the case. What is ordained is not a particular government but the concept of proper government, the principle of government as such. As long as a given government lives up to a certain minimum set of requirements, then that government may properly claim the sanction of divine institution. If, however, the government fails adequately to fulfill the functions divinely assigned to it, it loses its authority. It then becomes the duty of the preacher and the prophet to teach that this has become an unjust government…”

      Dan Hill: “God has established the orderly function of man on the Earth and instituted human government as part of the Law of Divine Establishment that are applied to all humankind.”

  8. 1 Peter 4:8
     Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. If we all would of just done that small thing then it would be a little better in this world

    1. Scott, I couldn’t agree more. Love is always a good choice. Our love for each other is a gauge of our love for God (1 Jn. 2.9-11; 3.11-24). Our love for each other is how we show that we have been changed in our very beings (Jn. 13.35). It’s the way we express our inclusiveness: everyone is welcome at this table (Eph. 2.11-22). It’s also how we care for each other (Rom. 12.10 et al.). There is hardly anything more important (1 Cor. 13.1-3, 13).

  9. Thy Word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever ( psalms 119:160) that’s God’s Words we either believe it and live by it or pay the price. He’s a loving God but also a God of judgment!!!!. Let’s pray for our beloved nation. God bless America amen.

  10. Light prevails

    To the Janet person and the rest name-calling others,

    That’s not Christlike! Do not pretend to care about this nation when all you do is name call others to justify whatever YOU believe is right? That’s not good!

    If you humble yourselves enough, you will see that Mr. Trump has been giving all glory to Jesus Infront of cameras. The MsM hated that! He has been lied to as well!

    Study him more to open your eyes further. Listen not only with the ears but also with the heart.

    Mr. Trump is one of the most if not only one that has prayed in the white house!

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