“In that day a man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands; he will not respect what his fingers have made, nor the wooden images nor the incense altars” (Isaiah 17:7-8).
As Isaiah has been pronouncing judgment on the nations such as Babylon (Isaiah 13-14), Moab (Isaiah 15-16), and Syria (Isaiah 17:1-3), he now pauses to turn his attention to God’s people Israel. They will not escape God’s judgment on them. God will cause them to experience loss, hardship and want as well as the other nations: “‘In that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob will wane, and the fatness of his flesh grow lean. It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, and reaps the heads with his arm; it shall be as he who gathers heads of grain In the Valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in its most fruitful branches,’ says the Lord God of Israel.
Why was God doing this to His Own people? He was removing His blessings from them because they had forgotten Him. They would go out and work hard planting their seeds and nourishing their crops, but their harvest would not produce what they hoped because God’s blessing was not upon it: “Because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not been mindful of the Rock of your stronghold, therefore you will plant pleasant plants and set out foreign seedlings; in the day you will make your plant to grow, and in the morning you will make your seed to flourish; but the harvest will be a heap of ruins in the day of grief and desperate sorrow” (Isaiah 17:10-11).
Unfortunately, as the opening verses above indicate, in order for God to gain the attention of His own people, the Lord would have to let them suffer hardship (Isaiah 17:7-8). It was only then that they would stop and “look to their Maker” and respect Him. It was only after they suffered the loss of glory they once had as a nation and individually began to have difficulty in finding daily food for their own nourishment that they would stop patting themselves on the back for their own accomplishments and look up to God and realize their need for Him!
As I consider this passage from the book of Isaiah, it gets me to thinking: “What does it take for me to look to my Maker? What does it take for me to not dwell on the things which I have made or on the accomplishments which I have performed?” This is not a new problem for us. Mankind has been struggling with remembering to look up to their Maker from the beginning of time. Of the Gentiles, the apostle Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things (Romans 1:20-23).
Unlike the nation of ancient Israel, I don’t want to have to experience the removal of God’s blessings from my life before I will show respect to Him. Today, I will strive to “look up to my Maker” and acknowledge Him as I look around and see the manifold ways in which His blessings have flowed into my life!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).