Isaiah delivers an oracle against Babylon, Tyre, and Sidon, but let me note one section of Isaiah’s oracle against Jerusalem. In Isaiah 22:8-14 we see how horizontally focused the people of God had become.

During the days of Hezekiah, when foreigners invaded, the people of God evacuated homes, diverted reservoirs, and sought protection from the armory of Israel. Still they failed to acknowledge God, who had given them strength and provision. Rather, they turned to partying and revelry, saying foolish things like “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Years later, Paul the apostle repeats this line to describe a state of misery and hopelessness that should never characterize those who know the Lord’s power (1 Corinthians 15:32). This is precisely the problem; God’s people had ceased to live as God’s people, forgetting His greatness and ignoring HIs laws. Thus, they have lost hope, and they now face a greater judgement.

The truth is, however, that this judgement is better for the people as a whole than being allowed to continue in such faithlessness. It is better for them to suffer exile and learn to hope in God again than to have their own nation while they forget their God and maker. In our difficult days as the church in the United States, it is worth asking if our hard days are not better seen as an opportunity to return to bona fide confidence in God just as much as time to grieve what seemed like better days in our past.