During the Age of Enlightenment, Europe started to drift away from belief in God because they claimed to be using their powers of reasoning. Belief in God was considered to be myths, superstitions, and “the opiate of the people.” Soren Kierkegaard taught relativism. Darwin published The Origin of the Species. Friedrich Nietzsche declared that God is dead.
It seems the same trend is happening in America. Despite great claims to religious belief, people are living secular lifestyles, and their faith in God is now filled with doubt and outright rejection.
Just as John 1.10 says the world didn’t recognize Jesus. Ya think? Well, the world doesn’t recognize God either. So what’s new? It was no different in the days of Isaiah. “The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” Neither of these animals was considered very intelligent, so the point is clear. If even the “dumb animals” can figure it out, what is the problem?
Self-will is the problem. We all want what we want, when we want it, and the way we want it. It’s not that we have to be like dumb animals, but that we, in our pride and self-will, have separated ourselves from God. Our brains and reasoning power are our greatest strength and our greatest weakness, for in our ability to think we can reason right past our creator and think we know better. Or we can reason ourselves into the delusion of thinking we don’t need God, and maybe He doesn’t even exist. We need to use our brain-power to substantiate the truth, not to squirrel our way around it and deny it to our own smug, but misguided, self-satisfaction.
Woe to the sinful nation that spurns God and turns their backs on Him. We have demonstrated a dissatisfaction with God. People think God doesn’t do much for them, and they can’t see what practicality God has in everyday life. Israel is guilty because the only possible explanation for their present condition and mindset is deliberate and willful rebellion for which they are 100% responsible. They are turning away from God intentionally. Instead of doing the hard work of seeking him, their lives are comfortable and steady without him, and so they have made a deliberate choice to go through each day on their own. Yep, it’s called “rebellion,” because it is powered by self-will.
Isaiah calls them “a brood of evildoers.” Don’t you think that’s a bit strong? Really, most people are good people, right? Actually, no. Their business practices were riddled through with corruption, their people had compromised themselves religiously, their politics were full of maneuvering, greed, and pride, and, frankly, the nation had become immoral, despite good people still seeded throughout. Does it sound like America?
The “children [are characterized by] corruption.” Children learn some things from their parents, and some from other children. If the culture is corrupt, the children will think this lifestyle, worldview, and value system are normal, and they will be corrupt, possibly even still thinking they are godly.
They turned their backs on God—willful and deliberate rebellion. They chose it, and they knew. It makes them culpable, responsible, accountable, and guilty.
God isn’t roaring; he’s crying. This is meant as a wake-up call. Again, people may interpret this as God’s meanness, his powerlessness, or his faithlessness. But we need to learn to see the truth. It’s the country that’s corrupt, not God; and it’s people’s hearts that are full of open sores.
What happens to a country that is like this? Verse 7: “Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.”