How God Judges a Nation

God sometimes brings judgment upon a nation that is pursuing a path of unrighteousness. He did this with the nation of Judah. God’s judgment came upon His people in three ways.

First, He caused a reduction in supplies for daily living. Isaiah said, “For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support, the whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water” (Isa 3:1). That is, there would be a reduction in food supplies, most likely caused by a drought upon the land. This would naturally lead to a rise in cost of living as food resources would become scarce. Though economists consider various factors that affect the supply side of economics (i.e., commodity prices, production, distribution, regulations, etc.), God’s Word tells us the Lord is THE major factor in a nation’s prosperity or poverty. God controls all geophysical factors that determine agricultural production. This is divine viewpoint thinking that helps us orient to reality.

Second, God removed the nation’s leaders, both good and bad, all who were trusted by the people. Those whom God removed included “The mighty man and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the honorable man, the counselor and the expert artisan, and the skillful enchanter” (Isa 3:2-3). These are mostly good leaders, but also included “the diviner” and “the skillful enchanter” who relied on pagan practices to lead others. The Bible tells us that it is God “who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan 2:21a), for “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Dan 4:17b).

Third, God replaced the nation’s leaders with immature and inexperienced rulers. God said, “And I will make mere lads their princes, and capricious children will rule over them” (Isa 3:4). According to Gary Smith, “This could be understood literally or it could be a metaphorical way of saying that the new leaders would be people who act like immature, unwise, mischievous, strong willed, and inexperienced children.”[1] Even if good and godly men were available to help, the Lord would prevent them from advancing to their office because of His greater plans to punish the nation.

The result of God’s judgment upon the nation was that “the people will be oppressed, each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; the youth will storm against the elder and the inferior against the honorable” (Isa 3:5). According to Earl Radmacher, “For everyone to be oppressed by another describes a state of anarchy. In such an upside-down world, child is against elder, the base against the honorable. In His judgment, the Lord has given over the wicked to their own evil ways.”[2] Biblically, we know that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov 14:34), and “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psa 33:12a).

Dr. Steven R. Cook

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[1] Gary V. Smith, Isaiah 1–39, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, The New American Commentary (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2007), 146.

[2] Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 810.