The godly perish,
but no one cares.
Honest people disappear,
when no one minds
that the godly disappear because of evil. (V. 1, NET)
The righteous man perishes,
and no one lays it to heart;
devout men are taken away,
while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from calamity (V.1 ESV)
These words hit home today. Isaiah is pointing out that the leaders and leadership in the church and society have lost the sense of spiritual direction and truth that should give meaning to their lives, and they have settled for what always rushes in to fill a spiritual vacuum, the desires of the flesh. The result is a downward spiral for them and those around them. As they become more concerned in pampering themselves and in trying to find meaning in pleasure, the become less able to warn their people, and their lives become more meaningless.
The end is that they become stuck in a rut spiritually and physically, they find themselves repeating the same monotonous tasks and religious routines over and over. We will do tomorrow what we did today.
Those who are supposed to lead the church, lead their communities, and lead their families; are caught in a spiral of increasing concern for their own comfort, satisfaction, and pleasure and are unaware of its result. And because of their failure in leadership, people are caught in the same trap and are unequally unaware of what is happening. What is happening? The righteous person is disappearing from society: faithful men (and women) are dying off and disappearing. And hardly anyone notices it, and those that do notice, do not stop in their consumer driven life long enough to take it to heart. Isaiah states that if they would stop and think about it for a moment, they would see that it is because of evil, and a result of evil that it is happening.
Isaiah wrote this about Israel over 2,500 years ago, and it rings true in Huntsville and Madison today. I may nod and agree with this statement, but what am I going to do about it? Am I going to nod and say it is a shame and continue in my frantic consumer-driven schedule, or am I going to listen to Isaiah’s cry, a cry that comes from the heart of God and take what is happening to heart. Society does not need any more blind, selfish, gluttonous leaders. It needs righteous leaders, but it is they who are disappearing.
I posted this online FB and sent out an email yesterday and I am posting it again here. “Tomorrow Lets take time to pray throughout the day, and take to heart what kind of leaders we are. Thursday the 7th: Day of Fasting and Prayer. We are reading through the book of Isaiah together. Thursday we will be on chapter 58. This is one of the greatest teaching on fasting in the Bible. I am asking that we fast starting at sunset Wednesday evening to sunset Thursday evening. Read Isaiah 58 Wednesday evening and Thursday morning and meditate and pray over it and your ministry, leadership, and that of ODC. All who can participate, for as long as you can participate, please do.”