The Lord takes his place in court;
he rises to judge the people.
The Lord enters into judgment
against the elders and leaders of his people:
“It is you who have ruined my vineyard;
the plunder from the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people
and grinding the faces of the poor?” (Isa 3:13-15)
In life coaching, we talk about finding and doing the things that make your “heart sing.” These are the things we’re wired to do, and when we do them, we feel alive and on purpose. For me, this includes being in nature, discovering insights in the Bible, singing spiritual songs, coming up with ideas, dancing, engaging in the arts.
But I started thinking this week, “What makes God’s heart sing?”
Surely his heart sings as he watches the amazing and everchanging dance of his creation on earth. As Genesis says, “And God saw that it was good.”
But I think his heart also sings when people are devoted to him and they subsequently flourish, and become all they were designed to be.
Sadly, this is not often the case.
We’re going to come to Isaiah 5 later, but I want to refer to it now because it lets us know so well what God’s heart is. God says, “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard.” He goes on to describe Judah as a field that he planted with careful work and great anticipation, and then asks, “When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?” The passage concludes, “And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”
So that’s why God is angry and promises judgement in Isaiah 3. The individuals who comprise his dream are harming one another. His beloved planting is bearing bitter fruit instead of flourishing.
Will there ever be a happy song for God’s heart? In Zehpaniah 3, God promises,
“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder. . . .
I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. . .
But I will leave within you the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord . . .
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Isn’t this incredible?
There are two things we can learn from this passage.
First, that God intended to purify his people so they would become what they were created to be. I believe that Christians today are these purified people. I love this description in Ephesians, 5:26b- 27 “just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” What a picture of tender adoration! Surely, when we are purified through Christ and live holy lives, God’s heart is singing!
Second, that humility is so key. God’s plan is set in motion when we are humble and trusting. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you.” I Peter 5:6
So I want to remember, and keep this as my goal — to be pure and holy, to be humble.
Surely I want to be the fulfillment of all God’s dreams. I want to know that I make his heart sing. I want to think of him smiling as he looks at me.
And know that as I fulfill all I am designed to be, I can fulfill God’s dreams as well.
They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. Isa 60:21
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:8
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:10
But I must also face that I too often fall short. So I remember this picture of God taking his place in court.
Some of the judgment will take place at the last day. But we also experience a judgment in the form of consequences for our actions every day.
Two nights ago, my neighbor died. She had a heart attack. There were five emergency vehicles parked on the street, with lights flashing, as it poured down rain and the EMTs worked to save her life.
And I thought about how I have lived across the street from this woman for nine years, and never built much of a relationship with her.
Sure, she kept to herself. The time or two I did talk to her she didn’t seem interested in pursuing a friendship.
But now I regret that I didn’t reach out a little more. If there is anyone I should love as myself, it is my neighbor. But I let the selfishness and preoccupation of my heart win out. And the consequence is that I didn’t build a connection that I could have. God’s love wasn’t spread. I didn’t really give his field a chance to be developed.
I have a new chance today to live better.
May I seek to make God smile.
May I become a part of his song.