Four times (three in our chapter) Isaiah states God’s attitude that, “For all this his anger is not turned away and his hand is stretched out still” (Isaiah 9:12,17,21). In their own strength they think they can ignore God and restore the things that have gone wrong, to bounce back from a disaster and rebuild saying, “the bricks that have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamore have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place” (verse 10).
The nation refused to see that it was the LORD who had caused these disasters. Their thoughts were on rebuilding, to make things better than they had been; they did not see that it was evidence of God’s anger and further punishment would come for “the people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts” (verse 13). As a result the Lord was going to have “no compassion (even) on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly (or ‘disgraceful things’)” (verse 17).
There is an important lesson in this for today; disasters multiply in many places, extreme weather events and earthquakes multiply. Isaiah has several prophetic visions, such as, “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger” (13:11-13).
But for those who look for light in the darkness, what marvellous light is to be found in today’s chapter! Verses 7 & 8 tell us “For unto us a child is born … and the government shall be on his shoulder … of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end … to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this”.
“From this time forth”? From the time Jesus returns! Look again at 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24. May we all have a clear vision of the light in the darkness, “for all this” folly of godlessness we see today our world will one day feel the fullness of the Creator’s anger. Let us make our vision of the light as clear as we can.