A Rebellious Nation
2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth!
For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows his master,
the donkey his owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
4 Ah, sinful nation,
a people loaded with guilt,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the LORD;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
The Father’s Rebuke
I have always wanted to spend some time in Isaiah, so here we go! Isaiah was a voice of rebuke to the people of Israel, reminding them of their disobedience, and God’s true heart and desires. I love Isaiah for numerous reasons – partly because it serves as a wonderful bridge between the Old Testament and New, and is a prelude to the ministry of Christ.
But we shouldn’t overlook the rebuking nature of this prophecy. Yes, God is love, and he loves each of us – but that doesn’t mean we get to do whatever we want. A loving father is not necessarily a permissive one. So understanding the purposes of the rebukes within Isaiah is important for us as well, so that we might take the direction of God and apply it to our lives.
In these first two verses of Isaiah, we get a quick insight into why and how God rebukes us – as a Father. Notice the language in these verses, the references to children who have been brought up, and children given to corruption. More literal translations make these passages even more personal in verse 2, saying “I have NURSED and brought up sons, but they have rebelled against me.”
So when God calls us to change our direction, or fix broken aspects of our lives, or repent, he does so as a Father. And this changes the nature of that rebuke, doesn’t it? For why do good fathers discipline their children?… for their own good. So it is important to read Isaiah in this light, that these are rebukes that are given for the good of Israel, not just to put them in their place.
1. Is there something in your life that you feel God is rebuking?
2. How could this discipline or rebuking really be for your own good?
3. Sometimes the model of our earthly fathers taints our image of our heavenly Father. What is the difference between how a bad father would discipline, and how God disciplines?