Yesterday, in my daily devotions, I was reading Isaiah 9:8 – 10:4 and while we always have to be very careful not to read present day issues into Scripture, I was struck by the repeated refrain which comes four times in this passage – “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”
The situation in Isaiah is one where God is pronouncing judgement, not on the covenant people of Judah but against the northern kingdom of Israel (Samaria). Actually, this is helpful as this is not a message addressed to the church but to a nation. Despite all God’s interventions and actions against them, they have failed to turn from their sin and repent.
That seems very apt for our nation and our world in these days when God’s hand of judgement and warning can be clearly seen.
Don Carson makes the following comments on this passage:
“What will God do with a people who will not seek him even in a situation of social collapse and threatening devastation?” These are already marks of God’s judgement on the nation, but still there is no sign of repentance. So what will God do? The answer is that, even though God’s judgement is gradually being ratcheted up, transparently it is not yet enough – so his anger is not turned away; his hand is still upraised.For the Love of God Vol.2 Leicester: IVP, 1999 Devotional for May 11
As I observe the current situation in UK and around the world, I see no sign whatsoever of the nations or their leaders humbling themselves before God and turning to him. Indeed, I see the very opposite, with boasts about how we will conquer this pandemic with our own ingenuity etc etc.
We need to pray that God will do whatever it takes to make people listen and take note because I have no doubt that, “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.”