Judah’s defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory for your weapons. You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool. You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.
At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse.
But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. (Isaiah 22:8-14)
Isaiah had warned his people, but they did not repent; thus, they would experience God's judgment. Because of his care for them, Isaiah was hurt by their punishment and mourned deeply for them.
The leaders of Judah did what they could to prepare for war: They acquired weapons, inspected the walls, and stored up water in a reservoir. But all of their work was pointless because they never asked God for help.
The people said, “Let’s feast and drink,” because they had given up hope. Attacked on every side (22:7), they should have repented (22:12), but they chose to feast instead. The root problem was that Judah did not trust God’s power or his promises (see Isaiah 56:12; 1 Corinthians 15:32).
There are two common responses to hopelessness: despair and self-indulgence. But this life is not all there is, so we don’t have to act as if we had no hope. Instead, we can trust God and his promise to include us in the perfect and just new world that he will create. When you face difficulties, turn to God. Trust him to care and to provide for you.