I am sitting here, with my family, waiting for disaster to come.
It’s hard to be a prophet. I know that people think I am alarmist, paranoid perhaps. They see me as a curiosity, someone who constantly thinks the worst is going to happen, and who points out all that is wrong with society.
“Why can’t you just focus on the good things?” they say. “We’re a good country – we have God with us.”
I think, ‘Are we talking about the same country?’
My blood boils whenever I walk the streets: there are people begging for food on every street corner, in a country where everyone is supposed to be looked after; and the gap between rich and poor is widening every day.
Who is holding the 1% accountable? They exploit the poorest in our society, and no one is doing a darn thing about it. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the law just backs up the rich. No one cares about the sick and disabled, those who are on their own and frightened about where their next meal will come from.
You’ve got to understand – this is a nation that boasts in its welfare system as being the best around, a God-fearing nation – and we are abusing those who are the most vulnerable in society.
Of course God is angry about that situation. That’s why war is coming, and I don’t blame Him. I’m angry about the injustice in our country, too. But why am I the only one getting angry – why must I be the lone voice protesting to kings and governors that things have got to change?
The people think, of course, that nothing will happen. They think because they are rich, they are safe. They have no idea how quickly things can turn around, how speedily their world can implode.
Last week I went to King Ahaz, and told him that war would come on the land. He sat there, a bunch of grapes in his hand, slowly eating them, steadily, one by one, as I spoke.
“Do you understand how soon this will happen?”
I was trying to get him to understand that the land would be ripped apart – and in his time, not at some later date. It would affect him directly.
He just stroked his beard, paused, and popped another grape in his mouth. It was like I’d told him a thunderstorm was coming.
Why won’t people ever listen? If only they listened, it would make my job a lot easier. I am habitually right, and it would save everyone time if they just agreed with me the first time.
I lost my temper, I’ll admit it. I may have raised my voice when I told him the next part.
God would grant Ahaz a sign: a woman would give birth to a child, the child would be called Immanuel, and before that kid is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, the King of Assyria would be swarming all over this land, and we wouldn’t even know what hit us.
I said it with fire and sincerity in my eyes. Above all, I wanted him to act, to respond, repent perhaps, and maybe this could be changed, maybe it wouldn’t happen, and God would relent. I was thinking of the multitudes who would be most affected, and the poor who would become ever poorer by war. I was desperate for him to hear it. I gave it my all.
One of the courtiers made some kind of joke out of my ear shot, and King Ahaz laughed uproariously. Then, noticing my growing displeasure and reddening face, he recovered himself, and thanked me very politely for stopping by, and told me he would give my important message due consideration. He waved me out.
I hold my little boy tightly to me, stroking his hair, wondering what will become of my children when the armies enter the country. The Lord told me to name my son “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz”, (‘quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil’). It’s a bit of a mouthful. We call him Baz.
This call to be a prophet: it’s not a part-time thing. It is not enough to carry a message: I live it out. It affects my whole family.
Before my boy even learns how to speak, Assyria will invade and take our reserves. There will be death, and distress, and desolation. This is the truth I carry, and it weighs heavily upon me.
Every day he grows a little bigger, and every day the dread in my heart grows. This country is sleepwalking into horror, and still they will not listen. But I know, and I wait, and try to hold back the fear.
Immanuel, Baz, these two children who are still stumbling around, babbling in innocence, are simultaneously shouting to a slumbering world that we need to turn back to God. These unsuspecting toddlers are a potent warning that we need to listen to God.
I would be grateful for another sign-child, one that proclaimed peace, not disaster. Perhaps it will come. But probably not in my lifetime.
I stroke my son’s hair, and look outside at the darkening clouds, and I wait.
“Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who lives on Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:18
For further reading: Isaiah 7-8
Advent is all about waiting: for Christ’s incarnation, and Christ’s return. This Advent, I am meditating on those in the Bible who had to wait. The four weeks of Advent traditionally focus on the Patriarchs, the Prophets, John the Baptist, and finally Mary, so I am writing a dramatic monologue for a Bible character, following that pattern. The first one is Sarah’s Story.
“They think because they are rich, they are safe.” NEW Advent post by @Tanya_Marlow Those Who Wait – Isaiah’s Story:
“I lost my temper, I’ll admit it.” NEW Advent post by @Tanya_Marlow – Those Who Wait – Isaiah’s Story:
“Why am I the only one angry about the injustice in our country?” NEW Advent post by @Tanya_Marlow Isaiah’s Story:
“It’s hard to be a prophet. I know that people think I am alarmist, paranoid…” NEW by @Tanya_Marlow for Advent:
“Every day he grows a little bigger, and every day the dread in my heart grows.” NEW – by @Tanya_Marlow for Advent:
Over to you:
- When do you feel like you are the lone voice, the only one who cares about what is wrong in society?
- To what extent do you relate to Isaiah?