For some reason, it seemed like a good idea at the time: get a few of my toys together and spread them out to play with them – – – in the middle of an intersection near my home. Who knows why? For that matter, who knows why toddlers do most of the strange stuff they do? As you can imagine, my mother was pretty upset when she discovered me, happily sitting and playing out there. Probably heard the squeal of brakes before she saw what was going on. Can you understand why she might have hollered and screamed at me, might have sounded pretty angry? But at the time, it was a mystery to me. Why would a good mother get so furious?
When you first start reading Isaiah, God seems pretty cranky. He sounds pretty worked up:
Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. (Isaiah 1:4)
Whoa… This sounds like fodder for the angry, pinch-faced, bony-fingered, fire and brimstone preacher, thundering and screaming with flecks of spittle flying off his beard. Why would a good God get so furious? People make the mistake of thinking that God has changed. The God of the New Testament is pretty nice, but back in the old days, He needed some anger management counseling. Not true. God is not bipolar. God was angry for the same reason my mother was. Continue reading:
Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil. (Isaiah 1:5-6)
God hates it when He sees us doing things that endanger or hurt ourselves. Think about it: He originally created a perfect garden for us humans to live in. That is His desire for us. Unfortunately, gardens degenerate pretty quickly if you don’t what you are doing, if you don’t follow the rules. I’ve had some gardening experiences that would have frightened Maurice Sendak.
We humans turned away from God and tried to run His garden by our own ideas. We wrecked the garden and wound up hurting ourselves. But God yearns for His people (that’s us…) to turn back to Him and do things the way they work best. He hates it when we keep getting hurt. God’s plan is to ultimately restore the garden, making it available to everyone who will learn from Him and live in it peacefully and productively – and safely.
If you keep that understanding fully in mind, Isaiah is a fascinating and wonderful read. God loves to see us playing – just not in the middle of the street.