It’s no fun when stores close. I used to enjoy shopping at Romy’s. And now there are no stores left. It’s like losing a friend who got you great deals. What would it be like if it your main shopping provider closed? Like COSTCO…or the mall… What if it was an entire country?
Tyre was known as the “merchant of the nations” in Isaiah 23. It was the place to be, the hub of excitement, new fashions, the expensive import store. The merchants and traders were the in-crowd, the group to invite over. And suddenly, they’re gone. Destroyed. And they did not just fade away, it was abrupt and shocking. And they were gone for 70 years…but then they came back, acting the same as ever. But God used it to provide for His people.
Do we live in a modern Tyre? Exporting excitement around the world? It is sobering to think about. And Tyre came back. And it sounds as though they continued in the same evil ways as before. But God was using it. Don’t underestimate what God is doing through the most unexpected things.
Isaiah 24 opens with a resounding declaration of equality: everyone would be equally judged. The person with money could not buy their way out. The respectable man was in the same position as the man no one trusted. And while Isaiah can hear the earth shouting out God’s praise, he can’t join in. It’s all too much. The earth shakes, and trembles, and God will be glorified. And sometimes it is a hard thing to understand and accept.
Verse 5 stands out to me:
“The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.”
This reminds me of Romans 8: 18-24a,
“18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved.”
The creation is broken. And crippled. And eager for redemption. But how often do we acknowledge the brokenness? And how does God respond? Gerard Manley Hopkins was a poet who put this into words well in “God’s Grandeur:”
At the end of the day, God is glorified. No matter what the response of humanity is towards Him, He is apart and reigning. And yet there is such healing in seeing where He leads and enjoying the journey with Him.
God, in the end, all the things of this world – not just the money, but the medals, the esteem, the job titles will be gone. Please help me to see You working and thankfully jump up to help with what You are doing. I want to see how You work more. Thank You for Your breathtaking plans. Amen.