So, I have got over the sanitary towel thing.
It was only a simile. It is now time to have a look at the verses and see what God-breathed usefulness was in them. I couldn’t see any as I copied them. I can’t even have been concentrating. I even spelt “menstruous” incorrectly! A spelling error to be archived for future generations.
So, the verses were:
22Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.
23Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.
Isaiah chapter 30.
Immediately preceding these verses is the idea that, like a lost herd of sheep, the people have suddenly been put back on the right track, after going their own way. They are told, “This is the way, walk ye in it”, or, in the NIV “This is the right way. You should go this way”.
We get an image of true repentance at this point. “My” verse, verse 22, talks about destroying idols so that they could be of no further use. These objects held up as objects of worship are suddenly seen as abhorrent, when regarded from the right path.
It’s all about perspective. They had been merrily going their own way, following common sense, relying on human strength and power. They are in a place of sudden realisation that they are only human and need God’s help.
Their value system is turned on its head. What was to be revered was now to be abhorred. Their objects of worship – the objects they valued above all others, were compared to clinical waste – that which should be thrown away, burned and destroyed. Suddenly the things they loved were things they wanted no part of.
I love the end of verse 22: “Get the hence!” I must use that some time 😉
Verse 23 is a total contrast with the repugnant image that rounds off verse 22. Now that the people are walking in the right way – following God’s guidance, suddenly everything else follows the natural order. There is rain, a harvest and a time of plenty – a spell of reliance on God and reaping what was sown.
So, in what way is this “useful”?
I think there is a message here about wisdom. What a relief is must have been when the people heard the voice – literal or metaphorical, saying “This is the way. Walk ye in it.” To know you are on the right path to your destination means you can drop all the worries you have pertaining to the other routes. It lets you focus on what is real and relevant to the future, rather than what pertains to parallel other ways things could have gone.
And with this clarity of focus comes a balancing of the books. Everything has a new value. What was important before may be entirely unhelpful and should be abandoned or destroyed; such as bad habits, erroneous points-of-view, addictions, shallow pursuits…
Then a person can live wisely, when they have the right perspective, with certainty that they are on the right path.
With the right path, in these verses, comes a balanced life – with the earth following its natural rhythm and their work bears fruit. They live in productive times, reliant on God’s provision.
For so many in the world today there is famine and poverty. Labour does not seem to bear the fruit it deserves. And for others, there is plenty – and it is unfair. Why so? With climate change and global warming, the natural order as we knew it or know it is in flux. Why so?
Clearly we, as a global community have our priorities and our path going far wrong somewhere. With the state of the global economy, people would love for someone to come up with a genius plan and say “This is the way: walk in it”.
Imagine they did.
Look up at the things in our world that are revered and should be abhorred. Let’s give them a hearty “Get the hence!” and realign our priorities, with a sudden realisation that we value the wrong things.
And we need to change.