The earth mourns and dries up, and the crops waste away and wither. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant.
Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive. The grapevines waste away, and there is no new wine. All the merrymakers sigh and mourn. The cheerful sound of tambourines is stilled; the happy cries of celebration are heard no more. The melodious chords of the harp are silent. Gone are the joys of wine and song; alcoholic drink turns bitter in the mouth.
The city writhes in chaos; every home is locked to keep out intruders. Mobs gather in the streets, crying out for wine. Joy has turned to gloom. Gladness has been banished from the land. The city is left in ruins, its gates battered down. Throughout the earth the story is the same— only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest. But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty. In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! (Isaiah 24:4-16)
Chapters 24–27 are often called “Isaiah’s Apocalypse.” Like the apocalyptic literature of the book of Revelation, these chapters discuss God’s judgment on the entire world for its sin. Isaiah’s prophecies were first directed to Judah, then to Israel, then to the surrounding nations, and finally to the whole world.
It was not only the people who suffered from their sins; even the land suffered the effects of evil and law-breaking. Today we see the results of sin in our own land—pollution, crime, addiction, poverty. Sin affects every aspect of society so extensively that even those faithful to God suffer. We cannot blame God for these conditions because human sin has brought them about.
The more we who are believers renounce sin, speak against immoral practices, and share God’s Word with others, the more we slow our society’s deterioration. Continue to pray, asking God to give you opportunities to make a difference.