I confess, I’m guilty of it. I see a fresh strawberry, the first one of the year, and I’m gonna eat it! I might take a photo first, but that is not guaranteed. Apparently, that is a consistent view across the ages, because God said that Israel would be like the first ripe fig: swallowed up by the first country who spotted them. The imagery is strong with Isaiah 28.
This chapter is the contrast between really gross imagery and some beautiful pictures. I’m sorry, but it’s a drinking fest, complete with sick people. It was not even isolated in one embarrassing corner of the nation. Instead, it was something that infected everyone, the priest and prophet included. They were all drinking up lies, reeling off prophesies, and blowing off what God said.
God starts asking questions. Would their messages make sense to anyone? Babbling…that’s what they called pagan speech. Little words that sounded like drunken syllables. And that’s what God would start using to get their attention because they just wouldn’t listen!
There are some hopeful verses inserted into the middle of this passage. Rather than the drunken crown slipping over one ear, God would be a crown of glory for the remnant. He would give strength of mind and body, courage and hope. But they were not listening yet.
We are invincible in our lies, they said. God countered with the promise of a sure cornerstone, a straight-line form of justice. And the shack of lies would be swept away by the first storm.
The chapter finishes out with some harvest imagery. God asks some rhetorical questions: if you are working with some little herbs, do you harness up your animal to your big sledge to get the seeds? Or do you drive over grain with the big cart to grind it enough for flour? God, the Lord of hosts gives this wisdom to you (so He’s smart enough to know the best way to teach you right living, and the proper form of punishment).
I am simultaneously in love with these beautifully executed pictures, and repulsed by the gross disregard that Israel was showing for God. It’s all too familiar. I am guilty of this as well. I run around, doing my important tasks, and disregarding God’s tug on my heart. That is, until I’ve run myself ragged, am mad at the world, and collapse. What form of punishment does it take for you to stop and listen?
God, thank You that You call us out of the vomit of our sin and show us the beauty that You can provide. You do not leave us there, but call us out in Your time, in Your wisdom. I’m sorry for disregarding Your wisdom so often. Thank You for this reminder to listen.