17 Terror and a trench and a trap on you, resident of the land! 18 And this will happen: The one who flees from the sound of the terror will fall into the trench, and the one who goes up from the middle of the trench will be caught in the trap, because windows from heaven are opened, and land foundations tremble. 19 The land is utterly broken; the land is torn apart; the land is shaken violently. 20 The land staggers here and there like the drunk, and it sways like a hut, and its transgression is heavy upon it, and it falls and does not rise again. 21 And this will happen on that day: Yahveh will punish the army of the sky in the sky, and the kings of the land on the land. 22 And they will be gathered as a gathering, like a prisoner at a pit. And they will be kept at a prison and be punished after many days. 23 And the full moon will be ashamed and the sun will be ashamed, because Yahveh of armies will rule on the mountain of Zion and in Jerusalem, and gloriously before his elders.
This morning, while doing the translation work for today’s text, I got a pop-up advertisement from my anti-virus program. Now, I use a very popular free program, which boasts that it protects 188 million users. I know that it works, because in those rare times when someone asks me to take a file from his USB drive, and it has a virus or malware on it, the program catches it and removes it. But this advertisement suggests that my sense of security is unfounded. If I want to be really protected, I will pay the fee to get the whole package. Then I will be safe.
Isaiah spoke to a people who thought that they were covered when it came to protection from harm. After all, they were in God’s land, and protected by God’s rulers, and God’s angels – the army of the sky. But Isaiah’s words pop up on their laptop screens and warn them that their security has all sorts of holes in it. The land is going to be shaken, the rulers imprisoned in shame, and only the LORD will rule gloriously. Every step that the people take to protect themselves from this threat will prove to be in vain.
What is God saying to us today from this prophet? Perhaps he is speaking into the heart of our obsession with protection, insurance, fail-safes, etc. God does not want us to be foolish. There is wisdom in making sure an accident or incident does not destroy or ruin us. But, Isaiah warned his people that the top wrung of the protection ladder is the LORD himself. Without a real relationship with God, they are not fully protected.
LORD, may we have the wisdom to seek shelter in you before disaster proves that all our other means of protection are inadequate.