Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"I'll Bet You Never Heard a Sermon on This!"

Isaiah 3.24 NASB

“Now it will come about that instead of sweet perfume
there will be putrefaction;

Instead of a belt,
a rope;

Instead of well-set hair,
a plucked-out scalp;

Instead of fine clothes,
a donning of sackcloth;

And branding
instead of beauty. ”

I’ve sat in church for many years 
and I have never heard a sermon on Isaiah 3.24. I doubt I ever will. It’s an inelegant text and unfit for the regular church consumption. It violates all forms of ecclesiastical etiquette and will not appear as a lectionary reading option anytime soon. 

Most people don’t want to hear the stuff Isaiah preached about.

Imagine a beauty pageant. Gorgeous young women dressed and made up to perfection. Immerse the winner in dead, rotting flesh. Yank large patches of hair from her scalp. Cover her in a burlap bag and brand her cheeks with a cattle iron. This horrible, cringe-reflex imagery is Isaiah.

Isaiah warned the king of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem of God’s coming wrath. If they would not repent of their sins against the orphans, widows, helpless, poor, and aliens, then God would bring about the same disaster suffered by their northern neighbor Israel. The nation of Israel was being led into captivity by Assyria as Isaiah spoke. Judah apparently did not heed the prophet’s warning and suffered the same fate as Israel by the merciless hand of Babylonian captors about a hundred years after Isaiah died.

What does the imagery of stinking, bloodied, branded young women have to do with me? I assume this is a graphic symbolization of my life under the influence and control of supernatural forces of darkness who care nothing for my well-being. As Assyria was to Israel, and Babylon to Judah, so is Hell to me. The demonic realm is real. The Bible acknowledges the dark power of the Satan in the world…

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil,
prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
1st Peter 5.9

But the power of Christ is just as real and even more powerful…

“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
1st John 4.4b

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Romans 16.20

I’m glad I belong to Christ. He does not approve of the way the god of this world treats God’s people...

“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”
1st John 3.8


One Sided said...

I am startled by the number of people I have spoken with who profess belief in God but who do not believe in demons.


davescriven said...

Me too.