From the sole of the foot even to the head
there is no soundness or health in [the nation’s body]—
but wounds and bruises and fresh and bleeding stripes;
they have not been pressed out and closed up or bound up
or softened with oil. [No one has troubled to seek a remedy.]
[Because of your detestable disobedience]
your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire;
your land—strangers devour it in your very presence,
and it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens.
Isaiah, the prophet, whose name means "Salvation of the Lord" is prophesying to the ancient nation of Judah. Their generational sins have caught up with them and God's Judgment is upon them. As Jehovah's spokesman, Isaiah has consistently warned the people that the nation was immersed in sin. He begged them to repent, and when they refused, he foretold coming destruction.
Isaiah prophesied during a time of great political turmoil for Judah; a time when they became embroiled in the conflicts between Assyria and the nations of Israel and Syria. Isaiah counseled the nation to make no alliances, but to trust only in the Lord. Isaiah portrays the sovereign rule of the Lord -- not only against His favored people, but of heathen nations, as well. The prophet points out that the Lord uses whom He chooses to execute His purposes; and afterward judges each nation, bringing them to desolation because of their sins.
In these verses, Isaiah compares the nation's sins with a sick and diseased body. Their disobedience threatens to be mortal. From the sole of their foot to the top of their head; from the peasant to the king, there is no soundness, no moral principle, no religion, and that represents the health of the soul. There is nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of man's fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature and the decay of a nation. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing the fatal effects.
This is an apt description of the state of the nation of Judah at the time of Isaiah. But it could easily be describing the state of the soul of America. How quickly -- and easily -- we have forgotten that we, as a nation, owe our existence to His providence and protection during our founding. How careless we have been in safeguarding our God-given freedom and the prosperity that He rained down on us! How inattentive has the American Church been in teaching repentance, which is at the center of God's terms for reconciliation.
While our national sins remains unrepented for, nothing is done toward healing the gaping wounds, and preventing further fatal effects. No one has troubled to seek a remedy for the sins, or to turn back from them. Instead we move from abortion in the first trimester to late-term abortions; from approving civil unions between same-sex couples to same-sex marriage. Our sins mount up, and as the Scripture says, our country lies desolate (the devastating California drought); our cities are burned with fire (Ferguson and Baltimore); strangers devour our land, and we are overthrown by aliens (the amnesty offered to millions of illegal immigrants).
In the year that Isaiah prophesied, Jerusalem was left exposed and unprotected. The same can be said of our nation in this time. Isaiah warns that if Judah would be willing to repent and be obedient, they would eat the good of the land; if they refused and rebelled, they would be devoured by the sword. We would do well to consider the same warning.
But the good news --- and there is always good news when the Lord is your rock and your deliverer -- God always saves a remnant to serve Him. His Mercy will see that those who love and obey Him are not consumed. We are all guilty of sin and diseased flesh. But if we repent and accept the sanctifying Spirit of God, our health can be restored. The same is true of the individual, as well as a nation. Oh, how I pray for the healing of our blessed nation!