Isaiah chapters 3-6

Pride comes before a call

These passages speak in differing ways of the pride infecting Judah and Israel.  Chapter 3:1-4:1 speaks of the economic oppression of the poor that is happening in Judah. The rich are taking what little the poor have – they blame economic conditions but the presence of the poor’s belongings in the rich man’s house leaves him condemned. The Prophecy of Amos, which is from the same period, gives much more detail. But the message is clear – God will cause a society to wither that does not care for the poor and lives off exploitation and oppression.  Rich women who wear expensive jewelry and have no regard for others will find when their husbands, fathers and sons are killed in war that they will cry out for protection to any man who will shelter them without demand for bride price or even offer of food and clothing

But (4:2-6) God will not destroy Judaea at this time – a remnant will remain – the faithful will be spared – and God will bring his presence among the faithful.

Chapter 5 is a funeral song for the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They have been God’s vineyard – now the protective hedge will be removed and others will come and graze. We are around 740 – the song is about the first incursions of the Assyrians[1] and the inward decline of Israel’s society. Corrupt and weakened by its own sin – it is ripe for destruction. In verses 26-30 God calls in the destroyer – Assyria acts as God’s appointed agent of judgment.


The passage asks us questions we need to answer:

  • Do we care for the poor? Are we broken for the jobless, purposeless, hopeless youth we turn out without qualification from our schools?
  • Are our houses full of what is made on the backs of the poor?
  • Whom is God preparing for our destruction?
  • Is our society fatally weakened?


Then out of the false pride of doomed societies comes Isaiah’s call. The very mess of the world creates the need to answer the cry of God – ‘Whom shall I send?’  Here I am – send me!


If in worship we seek to enter the throne room of God, we need to be ready to answer the question he will ask. Are we ready to go?


[1] The final destruction of Israel 721 BC is in chapter 10.