When Isaiah wasn’t prophesying disaster, he was praising God for causing disasters and destroying cities. He also praised God for offering solace to the poor and the oppressed–because one day, God would provide everyone with a bounteous feast and remove all sadness from every heart. And on that day everyone would praise God.
When Hezekiah was King of Judah, and Assyria was conquering Israel, God told Isaiah to get naked and tell everyone that his nudity was meant to represent what Assyria was going to do to Cush and Egypt–strip them naked and drive them into exile. He went around naked for three years.
God continued, Seriously, guys, I live in heaven. Earth’s an afterthought. It’s like my footstool, or that little table that I sit my beer on. Nice, but not necessary. So it really annoys me when you forget your place. I only like humble, contrite, fearful followers. If you’re not afraid and sorry then your prayers are no better than when you cheat on me and pray to Baal or some other god. I hate cheaters. Seriously, everyone does. And you will die a slow, violent, bloody death. But you faithful! You I love! To you I promise that we’ll have a bright future together! I know things are tough for you right now for you little amoeba, but can ladies give birth without pain? So relax. I’ll see Zion born and your country overflowing with prosperity! A princess among nations. My princess! Everyone will be so jealous and will want me to be their god too.
(Finally, that’s the end of Isaiah. Jeremiah is next, so we’ll travel back to the years before the Babylonian takeover and another naysayer who saw it coming.)
Oh, God, let your wrath rain down! Let the earth quake! Let the forest fires rage! Let all learn to fear you! We know we’ve been bad, but we’re sorry! We know you’re the Father that created us and that you can crush. Please don’t be mad anymore. Let us go back and rebuild your Promised Land.
Isaiah shouted, I see a man, coming from Edom way! His clothes are all spattered with red, so I ask him, What’s all that then? Were you treading grapes for wine? And he answers, Yeah, I tread on the winepress and made the sweetest wine–the blood of all those who had oppressed and wronged me. Today is the day of my vengeance! I have trampled the brains of my enemies and the ground has drunk their blood!
Isaiah continued, Surely our God is kind! It does so many things for us! It redeems us and punishes our enemies, those who oppress and wrong us! I know things have been bad lately, but that’s because you all forgot God and didn’t worship It like It wanted, like Abraham and Moses did.
And God will marry Israel! It will be your nation’s bridegroom, and It will call you Mrs. and Honey and Boo Boo Kitty Fuck. You will be the happiest wife-nation ever! And It will guard you and protect you and provide for you like a real God should.
God sent me to tell you these things. It sent me to tell you that It loves you and would help you and would avenge you upon your enemies.
So rejoice! Your cities will be rebuilt and you will have immigrants to do all your menial labors.
Jews, arise! for your time has come and God smiles on you again. All else is in darkness. Nations will fly toward your light like moths.
Come! Bring your children and rejoice. The wealth of the world will pour into your coffers. The sea will bring trade and the herds of camels and sheep will be plenteous. God says It knows It struck you down, but now It will raise you back up. Your sun and moon will never set! The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a nation!
God could save you–if you deserved it. But you are iniquitous. Your hand are blood stained, your tongue is swollen with lies, your injustice infests you like a spider’s web. You are a nest of vipers. Mourn! Mourn like doves! Repent! And then maybe God will save you. God brings justice to the oppressed.
God says It knows that you’ve been fasting and praying to get Its attention, but It’s ignoring you because you’re not really living up to Its expectations. You still exploit and oppress the poor, break the Sabbath, lie and gossip, fight with each other, and fail to give charity to the poor and homeless. Make yourselves worthy and fast and pray. Then It will answer you and make sure the rains fall, and the cities are well-built, and everyone is prosperous.