The Lord God set up a system of rule in Judah in which older citizens were leaders in the nation and respected. As that nation continued to slide further and further away from God, people ignored the qualification of age. People appointed leaders from younger, inexperienced candidates. Respect for the experience and knowledge of the older, more qualified leaders waned. Slowly, Judah was replacing God’s system for one of their own because they had turned their backs on the Lord.
Isaiah, by the inspiration of God, diagnosed the problem. He wrote Judah had become more like Sodom (Isaiah 3:8-12). In other words, Judah experienced the worst evil anyone had ever seen. The prophet saw the punishment coming to Judah was well deserved and cried out over what he knew would happen (Isaiah 3:12).
Isaiah described the wealth of Judah before its people would go into captivity. He wrote of the women and how their pride and fancy jewelry would disappear. The Lord told the prophet about a stark contrast that would come over the nation. Instead of perfume, the smell of decay would haunt Judah. Instead of nicely styled hair, a “plucked out scalp.” The gates of the city of Jerusalem would mourn the deaths of its “mighty men” who went into battle (Isaiah 3:24-26).
This picture must have been hard to believe in the Judah of Isaiah’s day. Judah enjoyed its greatest prosperity in Isaiah’s lifetime. The forecast of danger must have fallen on deaf ears of a people who were experiencing “lifestyles of the rich and famous.”
What a wonderful and blessed nation we are in America! We, too, live in a land of plenty. We also live in a society where the aged are shut away and treated as if they were an encumbrance. We, too, live in a nation where experience and wisdom have little to do with those in charge of the government. We also live in a time where prosperity defines us as much as it defined Judah.
Is there a period of captivity waiting for the United States? We certainly pray that such never happens. But, how can we think that the sinfulness in our nation is any less dangerous to us than it was to Judah at the end of the Divided Kingdom? Do we honestly believe we are better than those people who went into Babylonian Captivity?