“O LORD, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it …”. (Isaiah 26:11)
The prophet Isaiah spoke a terrifying here to his generation. God was about to judge them for their sin. Verse 10 had just lamented how “Though the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness; he deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, and does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.” God is gracious; He had “shown favor” to these who were disobeying Him. But they did not turn to Him as they should have. Now the time of of His grace was over, and Isaiah solemnly proclaimed: “O Lord, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it.”
God’s judgment was coming. His hand — signifying His power and punishment — was lifted up; that is, He was ready to act. Like a king signaling his troops with a motion of his hand, so God’s hand was ready to move. But the wicked of Isaiah’s age didn’t know it. God’s hand was lifted, but because the inhabitants were spiritually blind, they did not recognize it.
Unofortunately these words may be fitting for our present generation. God has graciously waited while millions have ignored His precepts, and while America as a nation has continually rejected His standards. It may well be that our country is in the same precarious position that Israel found themselves in 2600 years ago. It does not take much spiritual imagination to envision the hand of God raised, about to commence judgment. But again as in Israel’s day, most people “do not see it.” They are totally ignorant about it, going their own way, thinking that “tomorrow will be like today, only more so.” (Isaiah 56:12)
God’s people have a better sense. They know the God they serve is a Holy God, and that the continual sins of this society cannot stand before Him unrequited. Surely the hand of the God of Heaven is upraised. Woe to those who cannot see it, and who are not ready for it when it moves.
Very timely message, Pastor Shawn. I truly believe God’s hand has been lifted from our once God-fearing and God-honoring nation (although that seems like a long time ago). Although I am not encouraged by the moral and social climate of our country, I yet pray that our nation will humble itself and repent of our evil. God promises if we sincerely do, He will withhold His judgment. I pray our spiritual blindness will be removed, and we have not crossed God’s boundary of grace and mercy.
It is a sad fact, as Paul states in Romans 2:4 that many “presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience,” yet do not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead them to repentance. Warnings kindly given but unheeded that also tends to harden a sinful rebellious attitude will invariably give way to divine judgment.