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Image by Milad Fakurian
  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

A Not So Flattering Portrait

I admit I am no artist. I would never attempt to draw or paint a picture of my wife. It would get me in big trouble. She would ask something like, "Is that how you truly see me?" Distorted eyes, lopsided-face, a crooked nose, etc. It would be anything by flattering.

Isaiah 1:4-9 draw a stark picture of the national condition God saw for Judah. They are nothing less than a complete and catastrophic mess. It is not a flattering portrait.

A bruised and bleeding victim of conquest unable to receive treatment! Not a single inch of their body is unharmed, not covered with blood, and oozing infection.

A city utterly destroyed by conquering armies resembling the remains of Hiroshima, Gaza, or Kyiv.

A dilapidated hut, collapsed in the middle of a harvest field. What once was a temporary dwelling is now a pile of decomposing lumber.

A place infamous for all of its chaos, evil, and exercised judgment of God as Sodom and Gomorrah with one exception - survivors.

Not a collection of pictures designed to create pride and self-confidence in the hearer. Rather, the metaphors are designed to startle them with the truth about how bad things are.

I'm led to think of abandoned and dilapidated farm houses Laira and I have sometimes joked were our dream homes.

If God were to send a prophetic message to the church in America, what pictures would he have to draw to confront us with the truth about our corrupt and compromised spiritual condition? Would hearing from him be enough to wake the church up to their desperate condition? Or would we try to fix it, like the only maxim of dressing up the old barn with a new coat of paint?


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