Isaiah 22 has the prophet passing God’s judgment on Jerusalem. The people of God have chosen to behave like the other nations around them, and God is not pleased and is passing judgment on them. “What do you mean that you have gone up, all of you, to the housetops”. Back in that day people used to go up on the tops of their homes to mourn or look to heaven and cry for help. This is a sign that they see the result of God’s hand against them, the “shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town”.
“Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle. All your leaders have fled together; without the bow they were captured. All of you who were found were captured, though they had fled far away”. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, the men of Judah did not die bravely fighting to protect their city. They died either being starved to death in captivity or fleeing as they ran cowardly from the city. There were not brave warriors who fought with a sword to protect their city, but men who ran, led by leaders who fled trying to save their own skin.
Isaiah is burdened by what he sees coming. “Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labor to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people”. He’s overwhelmed with the coming judgment and knows God’s people will suffer greatly. Isaiah knows the enemy is coming, and prophesies the pending attack, but it fall son deaf ears. God isn’t going to fight this fight for them. They are on their own. “He has taken away the covering of Judah”. While He has an unlimited army that could assist, because of judgment He won’t be fighting for them.
So what was the sin that God is unable to forgive? His people are guilty of ignoring Him. They are living life focused on themselves and refuse to humble themselves before God and repent of their sin. “You did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago”. God sits on the throne of this universe. He will not tolerate our ignorance or pride. The consequences are severe as Isaiah paints the picture. “Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die….Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”. How we choose to live matters. We must do it wisely, with God in mind!