“And I will make boys their princes, and infants [caprice] shall rule over them.” (Isaiah 3:4)
In the 2nd chapter of Isaiah, it starts out with a futuristic vision. Isaiah 2 provides a picture of God and his law and order being exalted above all other things, with God settling disputes, people beating swords into plow shares, learning from God, worshiping God , and “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”. (Is. 2:3-4) This is an Utopian dream.
When I was young in the 1960’s, I remember “flower children” protesting the Vietnam war and urging the world to live in peace. This is the same dream. It seemed so pure and simple. All we need is love.
Except, the 1960’s was also a tumultuous and chaotic time. Drugs, violence, and free sex were the order of the day. Young people were challenging and throwing off moral conventions and religious convictions. Unlike the Isaiah’s Utopian vision, the 1960’s dream was a secular one.
I have seen the consequences of that societal upheaval throughout my life. Drugs have taken an untold toll in lives lost and wasted. The opiate and heroin epidemic of our current times is partially a product of opening Pandora’s pillbox in the 1960’s.
Violence is as much or more a part of our world today than it was in the 1960’s. We don’t live in peace with each other. Wars continue to rage. Neighbors continue to fight with neighbors. More Americans are killed in the City of Chicago, alone, than in foreign wars. But that is only a drop in the bucket. Multiply all the other crime-ridden cities in the US. That doesn’t even begin to count what is happening in other parts of the world.
Free sex has also taken its toll. More children live in single family households today than ever before. The scourge of aids has taken God knows how many lives in the US and around the world. Pornography threatens to undo the fabric of our society, warping the minds and hearts of children at young ages, objectifying women and sex and feeding a ruthless and insatiable underworld industry that preys on vulnerable people in our communities.
In Isaiah 2:7-8, after describing the Utopian vision, the prophet comes back to reality. Jerusalem and greater Judah in Isaiah’s day were far from the utopia he envisioned. Isaiah’s description of the people in his time could be aptly applied to the people in the United States in this time:
“Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots.
“Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.”
We live in a land “filled with silver and gold”. We have plenty in the US like never before. Even the poor among us have computers in their hands and Nikes on their feet. We have leisure time, and things, and pleasure, and comfort like no civilization has ever experienced. The things we own, the pleasures we seek, the wealth that we covet, the entertainment and diversions that fill our time have become gods to us that dominate our attention, our energies and our hearts.
At the same time, suicide rates have risen precipitously over the last 20 years, and school shootings that were unheard of before 1966 have become routine. Wars rage around the world, and violence rages on our city streets.
Yet, we are filled with pride. We don’t want to be told what to do. We worship our freedom to do what we want, when we want to do it, and how we want it done. We want to go our own way and pursue our own selfish aims free from the constraints of God who created us.
This was true in Isaiah’s time. Not much has changed in that respect from then to now, and the consequence, Isaiah says, is that the haughty will be brought low and the proud will be humbled (Isaiah 2:11-17); and those idols will “utterly pass away”. (Isaiah 2:18)
God’s response in Isaiah’s time was to cut the people off from their sustenance and remove their wise and skilled leaders, replacing them with infantile leaders (“I will make boys their princes, and infants [caprice] shall rule over them”), and “the people will oppress one another, everyone his fellow and everyone his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.” (Isaiah 3:4-5)
I see a lot of similarities between Israel in Isaiah’s day and the United States today. Many Christians say that God put Donald Trump into office. There were even prophecies about Trump getting elected president going back years before the presidential election. No one thought that it could happen. I just watched a video montage of news clips in which some of the brightest and the best newscasters in the world scoffed at the idea of a Trump presidency. (Warning: if you don’t like Trump, you will hate this video.)
Yet, Donald Trump was elected. I believe the election of Donald Trump was the hand of God. God “removes kings and sets up kings”. (Daniel 2:21) “[A]ll authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13:1); but does that mean that it’s a good thing that Donald Trump was elected? To be consistent, we have to admit that President Obama was elected by the hand of God as well.
I’m not sure that Donald Trump’s election is a good thing. I’m not sure it isn’t more of a curse than a blessing. Donald Trump’s election may be a judgment on the United States, like what Isaiah said would happen in his day: “I will make boys their princes, and infants [caprice] shall rule over them.” This was because the people had become proud and sated with their own pursuits in place of God.
“Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child….” (Ecclesiastes 11:6)
I don’t claim to be a prophet like Isaiah, but it makes me wonder.