Today’s reading: Isaiah 24-33, Psalm 81
“Who among us can survive this firestorm? Who of us can get out of this purge with our lives?” (Isaiah 33:14, The Message)
In the final chapter of today’s reading, Isaiah puts these questions into the mouths of the people of Israel. By posing the questions on Israel’s behalf, he is able then to proclaim the way out–a way that is quite simple. The destruction that they have experienced, they have brought on themselves by neglecting the covenant way of life. If they will only return to an obedient response to the covenant that was made when they were back in the wilderness, everything will change.
Isaiah’s message here focuses on a return to seeking direction from God alone in all their actions. Remember that after the people settled in a land of their own, they decided that they wanted a king like other nations around them? And remember how that worked out for them from our journey through Kings and Chronicles? By the time Isaiah comes on the scene, king after king has failed to provide the faithful leadership the people needed. So Isaiah’s vision for the future includes a return to the way it was before Israel made that tragic error in judgment. When the people return to the ways of the covenant, they will say: “God makes all the decisions here. God is our king” (Isaiah 33:22).