7 Your choicest valleys are full of chariots,
and horsemen are posted at the city gates;
8 the defenses of Judah are stripped away.
And you looked in that day
to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest;
9 you saw that the City of David
had many breaches in its defenses;
you stored up water
in the Lower Pool.
10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
11 You built a reservoir between the two walls
for the water of the Old Pool,
but you did not look to the One who made it,
or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.
A Mighty Fortress
I have always been fascinated with ancient architecture, especially castles, because they had to serve so many purposes. One of the main purposes behind a castle was defense against invasion – the defenses had to be planned far ahead of time, with adequate access to water, the ability to cut off strategic points of entry, things of that nature. And this is what Isaiah is describing here, how the leader of Jerusalem is building up the defenses of the city against attack, but totally forgot about the One who made and planned it – God.
Now, as modern people, this context might seem altogether too ancient for us, but we have a very close analogue to the castle/fortress. I call them “resumes”. We build resumes, stacking it with jobs and accolades and recommendations, all in the hope that when the time comes, our resume will ensure our safety and future providence. But we totally forget the one who gave us the talents and skills to make our resume possible, the one who planned the trajectory of our lives from long ago – God.
God tends to be our very, very last resort, no-options left kind of thing. We consider our boss, wife, children, entertainment first, and then the wisdom and plans of God last. This was a recurring problem with Israel as well, and led to its downfall time and time again. We should learn a lesson from their history, and let our first thoughts, rather than our last, be on God.
1. Think about the last tough decision you had to make in your life – where was God in the decision making process?
2. What would it look like to make God our first thought and defense in times of trouble?