Just because you’re God’s chosen people doesn’t mean that you get an easy ride.
This passage gives us a list of warnings and denunciations of the nations around Israel – one of the local powers after another will fall at the hand of the LORD. It feels almost as though Isaiah’s hearers and readers are being lulled into a false sense of security – then comes chapter 22.
Jerusalem will not escape judgement any more than Babylon, Assyria or Egypt. It seems to be the fault of the self-serving rulers and officials who have taken leadership as a right and for their personal benefit rather than to lead a nation in the ways of the LORD.
One of the patterns that seems to come up time after time in the prophets is the reminder that with the privilege of being the people of God comes the challenge to live as the people of God – as a sign to the nations, and a place for the presence of God on earth. God’s choice – of Israel or of us – does not set us apart from the pressures and risks of the world, but calls us to live through them in a faithful and courageous way.