Have your children ever rebelled against you? You’ve told your toddler ‘Come here’ and they run off in the other direction. Or perhaps your teenager just ignores you, your instructions and your advice. And you think: ‘After all I’ve done for you?! I had my belly stretched, my nipples sucked, my bank account diminished, my time, sleep and sanity stolen and this is how you repay me?’ God’s people also rebelled against to him.
God’s people rebel against God
God knows exactly what rebellion feels like. His chosen people chose to ignore him! He describes this to Isaiah:
1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Hear, heavens, and listen, earth;
for Yahweh has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children
and they have rebelled against me.
FYI Yahweh is God’s personal name.
God made these people, he promised them blessings, he saved them from Egypt and slavery (see the book of Exodus), he gave them this amazing land and yet these people, his chosen and precious people, are just being awful.
Even animals know better than these rebellious children:
3 The ox knows his owner,
and the donkey his master’s crib;
but Israel doesn’t know.
My people don’t consider.”
I bet your cat comes when you shake the treats jar. But Israel doesn’t.
Not only that, but they consider God not worth their time. That’s what ‘forsaken’ and ‘despised’ mean below:
4 Ah sinful nation,
a people loaded with iniquity,
offspring (or seed) of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken Yahweh.
They have despised the Holy One of Israel.
They are estranged and backward.
I’m guessing teenagers do this to their parents frequently. But can you imagine doing that to God?
God’s people don’t seek God
And then there comes the time when your child disobeys you and they get hurt. At that point your kid is clever enough to come to you for help.
Israel is not that clever:
5 Why should you be beaten more,
that you revolt more and more?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it,
but wounds, welts, and open sores.
They haven’t been closed, bandaged, or soothed with oil.
In fact, strangers are threatening their city. Why would you not cry out to God for help then?
7 Your country is desolate.
Your cities are burned with fire.
Strangers devour your land in your presence
and it is desolate,
as overthrown by strangers.
8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a field of melons (or cucumber field, in the ESV),
like a besieged city.
God has mercy on his people
Israel, God’s people, are just so stubborn and corrupt. Why doesn’t God choose to just wipe them out? That’s what he did with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 19). But he chooses not to:
9 Unless Yahweh of Armies (LORD of hosts ESV) had left to us a very small remnant,
we would have been as Sodom.
We would have been like Gomorrah.
God doesn’t wipe everyone off the earth. Instead he leaves survivors (remnant) and starts over with them.
Application for today
When applying Old Testament passages you always have to keep what Jesus has done for us in mind.
Jesus is God’s way of making us right with him, so rebelling against God now will mean rejecting Jesus.
Therefore, to apply this passage is simple: Don’t reject Jesus. Trust in him, as he will ultimately bind up our wounds and save us from something worse than physical death.
This won’t mean that you’ll get healed from a physical ailment. But he does promise you something much better: an eternity with him.