“And I will make boys their princes, and infants [caprice] shall rule over them.” (Isaiah 3:4)
The 2nd chapter of Isaiah starts out with a futuristic vision. Isaiah 2 provides a picture of God and his law and order being exalted above all other things. In this vision, God settles disputes, people beat their swords into plow shares, and everyone learns from God and worships God in harmony. Nations cease to war against nations. (Is. 2:3-4) It sounds like 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. They were advocating for a similar 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 and religious convictions. Unlike the Isaiah’s vision, the 1960’s dream was a secular one.
I have seen the consequences of that societal upheaval throughout my life. Drugs have taken their 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 each year, alone, than in foreign wars.
Of course, Chicago is only a drop in the bucket. Multiply all the other crime-ridden cities in the US, and number is astronomically higher. Killings in the US don’t even begin to compare to what is happening in other parts of the world.
Free sex has also taken its toll as well. 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.
After describing the utopian vision in chapter 2, Isaiah comes back to reality. Jerusalem and greater Judah in Isaiah’s day were far from the utopian ideal he envisioned. Isaiah’s description of the people in his time could be aptly applied to the people today:
“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 in our city streets.