Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.
So man is humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them!
Crawl into caves in the rocks. Hide in the dust from the terror of the LORD and the glory of his majesty.
The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
For the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has a day in store against all that is proud and lofty, for all that is exalted shall be brought low.
Here’s another scary and convicting passage.
The sin the people commit is that they are “proud and lofty.” They exalt themselves. They’re all puffed up about the possessions they have. They think they’re great because of “work of their hands,” their accomplishments. This is what they worship, not God.
What sobers me about this passage is God’s attitude towards them. He says to not forgive them.
This is the strangest thing ever. It’s not something you see often in the Bible. Isn’t God the one who punishes, but then relents? “For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and sons will receive mercy in the presence of their captors and will return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful; He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.” (Ex 34:6)
Isn’t this the God who counseled us through Jesus to forgive seventy times seven?
How does this fit in with this passage later in Isaiah? “‘In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. . . “So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.”‘ (Is 54:9)
Because many theologans believe that God really is saying in Is 2:8 that he is not going to forgive the Isrealites for their pride. They quote verses like Ps. 69:27, “Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation.”
And it reminds me of how Jesus spoke in parables because, “They may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” Mark 4:12
I don’t know what to make of all that, but one thing I can see is that arrogant hard hearts are a huge problem with God.
And here is what I am thinking. The source of the Isrealites’ pride was that they forgot their need for God. They attributed their wealth and their success to themselves.
It reminds me of Revelations 3:17: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
It also reminds me of the first verse of the beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Matt 5:3)
How much do we remember that we are poor and needy for God?
Last night, we had planned to have a midweek service at the park, and play games. As the time for the service approached, the sky began to fill with dark clouds. When Ken and I got to the park, it looked like a storm was brewing. Not many people had showed up. We prayed, and some of us started a game of volleyball in the ominous gloom.
Then we began to hear the rumbles of thunder. Soon we saw flashes of lightening. We kept staying, holding onto hope, but the lightening got closer. So finally, Mike, our leader, volunteered his house for us to go to instead.
About 15 of us straggled over to Mike’s. There, we ended up having the best time! We had pizza, and sang songs and played games.
Now I’m not saying anything about those who decided to not come because of the rain. Of course that’s very reasonable. But I feel like those who came to the park and the house were those who felt a keen need for the fellowship. They felt their need for the spiritual. They felt their need to see God in the faces of their brothers and sisters.
Ah, I know I need to remember my need for God more. As the song says, I need thee every hour. Like the Jews, my heart can get so preoccupied with what I’m doing. I can think I have all sufficiency in my own little world.
I forget that what I need is that wonderful, harmonious fellowship of being with God in the moment. I need to see his beauty. I need to feel his goodness. I need to connect to his peace. I need to live with his deep meaning and purpose.
Let’s make it our goal today to humble ourselves and bring ourselves low. Surely it is scarey to think how easily we can be arrogant, and how seriously God takes it when we get that way.