You assessed your defenses that Day, inspected your arsenal of weapons in the Forest Armory. You found the weak places in the city walls that needed repair. You secured the water supply at the Lower Pool. You took an inventory of the houses in Jerusalem and tore down some to get bricks to fortify the city wall. You built a large cistern to ensure plenty of water.

You looked and looked and looked, but you never looked to him who gave you this city, never once consulted the One who has long had plans for this city.

The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
called out on that Day,
Called for a day of repentant tears,
called you to dress in somber clothes of mourning.
But what do you do? You throw a party!
Eating and drinking and dancing in the streets!
You barbecue bulls and sheep, and throw a huge feast—
slabs of meat, kegs of beer.
“Seize the day! Eat and drink!
Tomorrow we die!”

God-of-the-Angel-Armies whispered to me his verdict on this frivolity: “You’ll pay for this outrage until the day you die.” The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says so. (Isaiah 22:8-14)

You never save money by skipping the oil changes. When God gave this message to the prophet Isaiah, it was still a hundred years or so in the future before the Babylonians would burn Jerusalem down and destroy the sacred temple. God outlined the preparations that had been made for the sieges: the rebuilding of the walls and the water tunnel by King Hezekiah. Despite all those physical preparations, however, no spiritual preparation had been made at all. Instead of mourning over their sins, feeling the pain that they had caused God, feeling regret for how they had turned to idols and oppressed the powerless—the widows and orphans and poor—the people went on as before, worshiping the false gods and reveling in celebrations of their pagan worship, spending their time partying and enjoying themselves instead of repenting instead of fixing the real problems which had absolutely nothing to do with walls or water systems.

God pointed out that the consequences for their behavior, for their attitudes, was dire: rather than the forgiveness they might have enjoyed, they would suffer in the years of siege against Jerusalem and ultimately they would die. God had plans for his people: he intended to fix them. Sadly, the repairs would be both expensive and painful. When the water pump is busted and the tires are flat, if we expect to get home we’re going to have to pay for the tow truck. Thankfully, God realized we were flat broke and paid for it all himself.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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