Fr. David's Lenten Reflections Day 5
Now we come to the fifth day of our Lenten journey, God bless you as you travel the path to the Cross and to our Lord’s resurrection. Our reading today is Isaiah 3:1-15
1 Behold now, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will take away from Jerusalem and from Judea the mighty man and mighty woman, the strength of bread, and the strength of water, 2 the great and mighty man, the warrior and the judge, and the prophet, and the counsellor, and the elder, 3 the captain of fifty also, and the honorable counsellor, and the wise artificer, and the intelligent hearer. 4 And I will make youths their princes, and mockers shall have dominion over them. 5 And the people shall fall, man upon man, and every man upon his neighbor: the child shall insult the elder man, and the base the honorable. 6 For a man shall lay hold of his brother, as one of his father's household, saying, Thou hast raiment, be thou our ruler, and let my meat be under thee. 7 And he shall answer in that day, and say, I will not be thy ruler; for I have no bread in my house, nor raiment: I will not be the ruler of this people. 8 For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judea has fallen, and their tongues have spoken with iniquity, disobedient as they are towards the Lord. 9 Wherefore now their glory has been brought low, and the shame of their countenance has withstood them, and they have proclaimed their sin as Sodom, and made it manifest. 10 Woe to their soul, for they have devised an evil counsel against themselves, saying against themselves, Let us bind the just, for he is burdensome to us: therefore shall they eat the fruits of their works. 11 Woe to the transgressor! evils shall happen to him according to the works of his hands. 12 O my people, your exactors strip you, and extortioners rule over you: O my people, they that pronounce you blessed lead you astray, and pervert the path of your feet.
13 But now the Lord will stand up for judgment, and will enter into judgment with his people. 14 The Lord himself shall enter into judgment with the elders of the people, and with their rulers: but why have ye set my vineyard on fire, and why is the spoil of the poor in your houses? 15 Why do ye wrong my people, and shame the face of the poor?
I find this passage from Isaiah to be terribly sad, especially the picture that he paints of people saying to whatever young person whose appearance and clothing is attractive to them, Thou hast raiment, be thou our ruler, and let my meat be under thee. The translation from the Hebrew is: You have a mantle; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule. Does it really happen that the most attractive person is listened to because he/she is attractive (or in this case, wears attractive clothing)? Sadly, the answer is yes, then as well as now. This happens when people admit that the land has become desolate - but why? Isaiah says, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. I think this describes many in our culture today, who know that God is present with them, but defy this very presence.
One more point: This reading includes another place where Isaiah describes the salvation Who is to come, Jesus Christ, when he says Let us bind the just, for he is burdensome to us. He is the just One who has been bound for us, Who the world sees as burdensome, but we know to be our Savior and King.