As we journey through Isaiah 1-12, three things will be repeated:
1 – God will bemoan and describe the spiritual illness that has befallen His people, and tell why it has happened.
2 – God will describe the punishment that is to come upon His people because of their guilt.
3 – God will look to a day when the punishment will be over, and His people will have turned from their sins and be cleansed.
As you continue the journey, keep a notepad handy. Write down all the reasons God is upset with His people.
Thus far, God has complained of His people’s lack of concern for the helpless (1:17, 23). He is upset because of their inattention to justice, made evident by an increasing crime rate (1:21). His people have assimilated His commanded religious practices with those of the people around them (2:6, 8) and they have become a people focused on wealth and its trappings (2:7) and are more interested in how they look than what they are (3:16).
God does not intend to dwell among these people – even though they are His. They will not cease to be His people, but God will see to it they will cease to be. In their place will rise new people who have learned the lessons of the past, will live righteously, and God will once again take up residency among them. At the end of chapter 4, the Lord uses figures of His presence from the Exodus identifying better times to come.
It is true that Isaiah is written to a national people, but modern readers must not look at Isaiah as a call to their nation to “clean up.” As we shall see, God cares nothing for nations of the earth. Isaiah is, instead, a call to the Church – a Church that has become entirely too much like the world about it.