Isaiah 1:2-4

Isaiah 1:2-4 Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth! For Jehovah has spoken: I have nursed and brought up sons, but they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s manger, but Israel does not know; My people have not understood. Woe, sinful nation, a people heavy with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, sons who corrupt! They have forsaken Jehovah; they have scorned the Holy One of Israel. They are estranged backward.

Verse 2: God calls the creation and nation Israel to attention. The earth and the heavens are witnesses to Israel. This concept of the earth and heaven as witnesses is noted previously on multiple occasions. Three examples are noted in:

Deuteronomy 4:26 I call the heavens and the earth to witness against you today…

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call Heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse…

Deuteronomy 31:28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, and I shall speak in their ears these words, and cause the heavens and the earth to testify against them.

The introduction is emphatic in the Hebrew. In our culture, a shouting “HEY!” is the idea. This is a reminder. The point is to pay attention and follow what God says. God personally raised and nourished this nation from its infancy both physically and spiritually. There is a familial relationship in that God refers to Israel as his children. The result of the child is rebellion.

Verse 3: The reference in the verse is towards two beasts of burden, the ox and the donkey. In the culture of the day, these animals were sources of labor. The ox was used in plowing and threshing. The donkey was a pack animal who labored on the farm, in milling operations, and on the water wheel. A point of comparison to Israel is that at least these two animals know who their source of nutrition and survival is. The animals know who their owners are and where their bread is buttered. Israel does not know they belong to God and they do not understand God’s Word, their source of sustenance.

In verses 4-9, a brief outline of the complete depravity of nation Israel is described. Depravity of the nation is described in verse 4.  Personal depravity is noted in verses 5-6. The result of the sin on the land is described in verses 7-9. Yes, there are consequences to the earth for sin. Don’t forget about the fall of man and the curse on the ground. A second example of this is the global flood on the earth in Genesis. Future consideration of this same concept is the Tribulation period described throughout the text of the Bible. The focus in this study is on verse 4. Verses 5-9 will be discussed in subsequent studies.

Verse 4: God’s introduction to the nation of Israel is essentially, “Hello sinners!” Observe the mental attitude and actions of the people: iniquity, evil doers, and corruption. These are family traditions of the people of Israel. Sin is passed down to subsequent generations. Is this any different today? What do we know about deviant behavior and the statistical likelihood of their children engaging in deviant behavior? Pick a vice, go look it up.

The result of turning from God’s Word is noted in verse 4. Israel abandons the Lord and rejects. This was true during this specific time of history. It was true when Christ came to earth and was crucified. It is true now. As a result, Israel is alienated from God and the result is depravity and sin. This will ultimately change for Israel in the future when they will turn to God and be restored.

These concepts are consistent from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Be careful what you ask for. God tends to give you exactly what you want.  If you want to turn from God, He will let you. God does not force you to behave or read His Book. Make no mistake, there are consequences. God wants willful obedience to His Word.

Rom 1:21-32  Because knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful. But they became vain in their reasonings, and their undiscerning heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became foolish and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into a likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Because of this, God gave them up to impurity in the lusts of their hearts, their bodies to be dishonored among themselves, who changed the truth of God into the lie, and worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females changed the natural use to that contrary to nature. And likewise, the males also forsaking the natural use of the female burned in their lust toward one another, males with males working out shamefulness, and receiving back within themselves the reward which was fitting for their error.

And even as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do the things not right, having been filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, iniquity, covetousness, malice, being full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, evil habits, becoming whisperers, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, proud, braggarts, devisers of evil things, disobedient to parents, without discernment, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful, who knowing the righteous order of God, that those practicing such things are worthy of death, not only do them, but also approve those practicing them.

Look at what man (present author included) is capable of when they are separated from God on their own personal terms. This is the result of refusing to have God in your knowledge. This is the resume of man apart from God’s Word. It is not pleasant to read but it is reality. The results speak for themselves.

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