Sunday, May 8, 2011

Isaiah, Chapters 1: The Country Mouse and the City Mouse

Fun's over kids. From now until the New Testament it's just a slog of major and minor prophets no one's ever heard of or read, hectoring us to love and obey god, starting with Isaiah.

Isaiah starts off with a bang, telling us that unlike oxen and asses, who know their masters, the Israelites have become rebellious, evil, corrupt sinners and god's pissed. As a result from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. (v. 6-7). Jerusalem is abandoned and on the brink of turning into Sodom and Gomorrah.

Then god takes the microphone and says he's finally sick of barbecued meat and incense and has decided to ignore their prayers. I can't help noticing, as I slog through this under-edited book, how many times god tells his people he isn't going to help them anymore in their times of need, and how convenient that is, 'Your crops are failing? Lalala! I can't hear you!' He tells them if they just obey, he'll come back again.

More on the cities, from people who have since moved to the suburbs: it's full of prostitutes, it was once good but now murderers live there, it's full of people who cheat you with fake silver and watered-down wine; the city leaders are corrupt and only help their friends, ignoring widows and orphans. So god decides to 'clean the place up' as so many a reform-minded mayor has tried and failed to do.

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