June 16: Isaiah 48
Deuteronomy 21; Psalms 108–109; Isaiah 48; Revelation 18
Though Babylon will reduce Israel to dust, God promises to raise up Cyrus to crush the Babylonians and return His people home. It is as good as done (20). God’s purposes and His ability to fulfill them are not in doubt (3). The chapter pivots instead on the state of God’s people.
God will send them back. But when they return, will they possess the right heart necessary to reconstruct the culture God desires? Which begs a deeper question: who will they worship? Every political structure is the child of that people’s culture. Yet culture flows down from whatever that people worships. A people that worships sexual license and personal autonomy will give birth to a culture of death that politically legitimates abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Like us.
Israel landed in their position because, while they indeed worshiped, they were not worshiping God (1–2). They possessed a deep obstinacy toward idolatry. Thus God goes so far as to call out Cyrus by name well in advance, so that they have no ability later to attribute their return to their own gods, or their own goodness (4–5, 14–16).
Today our culture lies in ashes. If it is to live, and be worth living, it must be rebuilt by people that are truly alive, to God - a people cleansed by the cross and made alive by resurrection. We worshiped our way into this; we worship our way out.