Isaiah 57 has the prophet describing the mistreatment of good men by the leaders in Judah. “The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness”. Though the righteous were ignored and persecuted by the wicked leaders of Judah, God did not forget them. When they perished, God used it to bless the righteous, to take them away from evil and to allow them to enter into peace.
Isaiah attacks the spiritual adultery of God’s people. They made fun of the righteous. They mocked them, and God heard it. And God challenges them on that by asking “Whom are you mocking? Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue”? They have no grounds to question these righteous ones. This is a common sin of human nature – to see the sins or the problems of others, while being blind to our own sins or problems. We always point fingers first, rather than look in the mirror and see our own short comings. But God sees the whole picture. He is not blind to our sin.
The people were not obeying God at all. In fact, they were mistreating those who did try to walk with God. So God deals with them. “When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them all off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain”. God’s people didn’t trust in Him, and the things they did trust in – themselves, and their idols (let your collection of idols deliver you) could not help them. There is no other God. Putting faith in anything beside Him is a waste of breath!
As is always the case though, God is ready to allow His people back. “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite”. While God has to deal with the sin of people because of His very nature, He also always has a love that transcends that sin and will allow anyone who will confess, repent and receive His grace to return to Him. Jesus went to the Cross to make that possible for you and me. We can’t be like these people who chase idols and follow their self driven ways. But if we stop, turn and follow Christ we can come back to a loving God who receives us with open arms!