Isaiah 24:5    The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.

The 24th Chapter of Isaiah would make very sad reading at any time in the history of the world, but it is especially sad for us today as we are constantly reminded through news bulletins just how much of a mess we are in, and of how helpless we are to find a solution to our problems.

From a purely human perspective, if we have no place in our thinking for a sovereign, loving, Creator-Redeemer God, the future looks very bleak indeed.  God himself, through his faithful prophet, Isaiah, enables us to understand WHY this is so!  The Hebrew word translated ‘earth’ in today’s verse is used in some places in Scripture to describe the whole planet, or in other places just refers to ‘the land’ God promised as an inheritance to Abraham and his descendants.  In the context of Isaiah’s message of God’s judgment on all the nations, it seems clear that he is referring here to the whole planet.  It is certainly the verdict of history that ‘the earth is defiled by its people’, which is the outcome of God’s pronouncement at the beginning of history in Genesis 3.  Man’s rebellion against his Creator is the reason for the planet-wide flood in Genesis 6-9.  And, sadly, it is what has been happening ever since.

In what way has mankind ‘disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant’?  God made quite clear to Adam and Eve in the garden what the rules were for life in his world, binding himself to bless them abundantly in response to obedience; this was his ‘everlasting covenant’ with all mankind, a covenant which all of us have broken (Romans 3:23; 5:12).  When we defiled God’s world, he made a fresh start with Noah and his family, binding himself to another universal covenant of care and provision (Genesis 8:15 – 9:17).  Once again we blew it, consistent with the point Isaiah is making about the history of the whole planet.

The Apostle Paul makes a similar all-embracing statement concerning God’s laws/statutes/covenant in Romans 2:14-15 – “(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)”.

Our whole planet is thus under God’s judgment for rejecting his laws, statutes and covenant.  If this is true of the planet, how much more true is it of those nations (like our own) that have an established history that has been forged on, and impacted by, God’s written Word, and especially its declaration of a New Covenant in Christ?

So we need to ask ourselves: “Are we functioning effectively today in Christ’s name as the salt and light that will slow down and expose the defiling process?”