The Coming One

I stood at the gate of my city. 
Sunlight poured over the wall into the open square. 
Men waited in line before the elders to conduct their business. 
Merchants called out their treasures for purchase. 
Maidens listened with hands resting on their purses for the price they would pay.
One man, stopped in the middle of the street, yanked the halter of his donkey. 
Crowds moved around him careful to avoid the donkey’s back twitching leg.
Bright colors of blankets, sashes and tunics showed the artisan’s offerings.
Sights, sounds and smells mingled creating a loud, busy feeling.
Smoke tickled my noise from cooked meat offered.
I leaned against the wall and tucked my hands deep into my cloak’s pockets.  
This was my city.

Above all the commotion, my ear caught the faint, high pitch tinkle of bangles. 
My eye followed the sound. 
There walked one of our daughters of Zion. 

She held her head high. 
She wore a cloak of rich weave.
Around her waist, a colorful sash swayed with energy and life.
As if she knew she was watched, she turned. 
Light reflected from her earrings; her nose ring held gems.
Her hair framed her face, escaping from a partially raised hood and cascaded down her front in shiny waves.
A dainty foot peeked out from under her tunic, revealing the offending anklets that had attracted my attention.
I raised my eyes to meet hers.
Her face lit in a smile. 
Her eyes laughed. 
Her eyebrows raised in a dare.
Without a word, she spoke many.
I shook my head.
She laughed and sauntered away. 
Her bangles tinkled in my memory —long after she vanished in the crowd.

Then the Lord spoke. “I will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs and will make their foreheads bare. I will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, earrings, bracelets, sashes, nose rings, tunics, cloaks, money purses, undergarments, and veils.”

My people are consumed with themselves and how they look.
They don’t look to what God wants, only what they want.

The Lord continued: “Instead of sweet perfume there will be putrefaction; 
instead of a belt, a rope; 
instead of styled hair, a plucked-out scalp;
instead of fine clothes, sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty.” (Isa 4)

The image of the girl returned, but faded as an image of an old, bald woman without teeth, replaced it. Gone was her lively step. Gone was the proud, tilt to her head. Gone were her riches. She was no more.

I shook my head. 

That first prophecy, given by God, was during the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah.
Will my people see God’s judgment coming?

Don’t they see the mighty man and warrior, 
judge and prophet, 
elder and honorable man, 
counselor and expert artisan
Are gone?


The Lord will cause youth to control us.

Children oppress us. 

Women rule over us. 

Neighbors report us. 
Youth riot against their elders. 
Brother against brother. 
Judah has fallen. (3:1-9).
Yet—they refuse to see.

My people go into exile because they lack knowledge (Isa 5:13).
The words echoed again, They— lack—knowledge.

They’ve abandoned the Lord, despised the Holy One of Israel, and turned away from Him. (Isaiah 1:4) 
Unless the Lord leaves any survivors, we’ll be like Sodom, and Gomorrah. (1:9) 
Even when my people burn their sacrifices and offer burnt offerings,
God is not pleased. 
My people show a mockery of worship.
It means nothing.
Do they think God does not see their hearts? (Isaiah 1:16-).

Why do I tell of the coming judgment on my people?
Am I any better than they?
I am not.
I am Isaiah, son of Amoz.

But let me tell how God prepared me to warn my people.

It was during the final year of King Uzziah. 

saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted.
I couldn’t see His face, only His silhouette.
But there was no doubt, WHO HE WAS.

How do you look on God and not be changed?

The light, surrounded Him, hurt my eyes. 
I lowered them, unable to look at His throne again.
His robe filled the temple. 
His very essence brought control.
His splendor could not be described!
How could His glory be kept in one place?

I heard murmuring: a whispering.
Seraphim hovered around His throne.
Each had six wings: one pair covered their faces for the glory was great, the second pair covered their feet for they, like I, could only feel undone, and the third pair they used to fly.
There was no silence. 
Seraphim wings brushed the air, causing the whisper.
They called to each other, 
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.
The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Such GLORY. 

No other thought should occupy my mind.

The floor trembled.
Smoke filled the temple and stung my eyes.
My nose tickled by a sweet, faint smell, reminded me of incense that once burned in the temple for God.
My heart yearned to do nothing but worship this God—like that was all I needed to do.

How could such holiness allow me in His presence? 
I fell to my knees, the burden of my own sin pressed me to the floor.
How could I even look at such glory and live?
Time was no more. It did not matter.
Only worship. And the weight of my sin.
I felt limp like everything hidden inside me had been revealed— 

All my secret thoughts and motives and desires lay open before this throne.
Selfish thoughts, justified at the time, now seemed so very wrong.
How had I even thought they were right?

Actions flashed before me—Things I thought I had hidden.
Words that spilled from lips without thought.
Wants that were not allowed by the Law.
Even good deeds done for the wrong reason.


Nothing was not shown.
I felt exposed, naked before this glory.

When I  found my voice, I cried, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
I waited, unsure I should have spoken.

One of the seraphim flew to a smoking altar and with tongs brought a burning coal. 
I tensed but could not turn away as he touched the coal to my lips.
Searing pain brought tears to my eyes.
The smell of my burnt flesh filled my nose.
I instinctively licked my lips. 
My tongue clung to the roof of my mouth.
My throat was dry.

The one seraphim spoke, “Behold, your iniquity is taken away, your sin is forgiven.”
Burning sizzled through my body searching for every evil hidden within.
Its flames making the evil turn to ashes then disappear.
Gone was the weight that had dropped me to my knees!

I could have floated, if I could have found my legs to stand.
But I remained on my knees, hovering in praise before my God.

Then the Lord spoke, His voice rumbled—moving the entire floor beneath me with each word, “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?”

My heart skipped at the thought of serving such a worthy God.
Before I could think, I responded, “Here am I, Send me.”
Who wouldn’t?

The Lord said,
“Go, tell this people who keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Who keep on looking, but do not understand.
For they are not a people of discernment, 
therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them.” (Isaiah 27:11).

My heart sunk, for this was my people.
My people refused to hear.

I ventured to ask, though didn’t want to know, “Lord, how long should I tell them?”

He answered, “Until their cities are devasted and without inhabitant,
Houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate.”

I could not focus on the rest of the words. 
My people would be destroyed.
And I must tell them—it—is—coming!

I struggle with my people. 
Their obstinance makes me angry.
Why do they not repent?
God told them to seek justice, 
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow…
Though their sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow;
If they consent and obey, they will eat the best of the land.”

But they would not.

Do you know what it’s like to watch the coming destruction of your own people?
Do you know what it’s like to proclaim judgment over and over yet be ignored?

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes.
Who justify the wicked for a bribe and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right.
For they’ve rejected the Lord’s law and despised the word of the Holy.

But my proclamation was not without hope.

It was during the reign of Ahaz when God instructed me to take my son and go to the conduit of the upper pool. 
There I met King Ahaz.
He looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks.

His hair was disheveled. His beard—unkept. His cloak— askew.
Rather than delegate someone, the king himself bent over the pool, digging in the water.
He muttered to himself—like some mad man, “It’s not enough. It’s not enough.”
I knew what he was doing, he was examining the water supply for the expectant Aramean siege.
He ignored me as I approached.

The Lord told me to tell him, “Take care and be calm. 
These kings who attempt to rise against you will not succeed.”

At my words, the king looked up. 

I gazed into his face and saw terror.

He had good reason to fear. 
These two nations who threatened him were evil.

Their warriors knew no defeat.
They showed no mercy to captives.
They thrilled in torment and pain.

He stood slowly and wiped his brow. He shifted his feet. 
He did not believe me. 

I nodded, “Go ahead; ask for a sign.”

The king wiped his hands on his cloak and shook his head, “I will not test the Lord!”

I grew angry. My voice grew louder as I spoke, “When God commands you to ask for a sign, you ask for a sign. You do not test God when you obey Him. You prove His words.”
I lowered my voice, but it still held an edge, “Fine. God will give you a sign. ‘Behold a virgin will be with Child and bear a Son, and she will call His name Immanuel. Before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.’” (Isaiah 7:14-16).

The king’s shoulders dropped as if a weight had been lifted. And he sighed deeply. As if he could not believe.
But I could still feel his fear. 

I softened my voice, “You’re not to fear what they can do.” As I pointed to the east and north, but I raised my hand to the heavens. 
“It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. 
He shall be your fear.
Then He will become a sanctuary.” (Isaiah 8:12-14).

I walked from the king that day and knew he did not believe.
But I spoke God’s words. 
That was all I could do.

You know, God is faithful. 
Those two nations who were rising against Judah? 
They are no more.
I do not understand how a Child could come from a virgin, but I wait for that Child.
I long for that coming One.
For if God is with us, who can be against us?

Why would God want to be with us?
Yet the Lord’s hand is still stretched out.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-8).

This Child will not only change our people, but other nations will be delivered by this Child.

“It will become a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Champion, and He will deliver them.” (Isaiah 19:19-22). 

Imagine God reaching out to the nations.
We, as God’s Chosen People, have considered our place in His sight special.
Yet, our people have not acknowledged Him. 
Why would He continue to bless us?

The Lord told more about this Coming One: 
“A shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.
The spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, 
And knowledge….
He will delight in the fear of the Lord.
With righteousness He will judge the poor.
And decide with fairness.” (Isaiah 11:1-5).

When I consider such righteousness, at first, I think, “Wonderful!”
Rulers won’t do evil against their people.
Neighbors won’t oppress.
Brother won’t torment brother.

But righteousness goes deeper than those people out there.
I remember my visit before the Lord’s throne—
That nakedness before Him.
He will change me!

Maybe it isn’t a hope, but a warning!

I don’t like to hear the words of the Lord, for they tell of such judgment no man could stand against.
Our sin brings judgment to ALL creation.

“For the stars and their constellations will not flash forth their light.

The sun will be dark when it rises.

And the moon will not shed its light.

Thus I will punish the world for its evil.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the proud.
I will make the heavens tremble
And the earth will be shaken from its place.” (Isaiah 13:10-13).

Sometimes I despair.
Why, Lord, do we even have evil? 

Then the Lord answered:
“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You’ve been cut down to the earth.
You’ve weakened the nations!

But you said,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
I will make myself like the Most High.’

Nevertheless you will be thrown down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
Those who see you will gaze at you,
They will ponder, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
Who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities,
Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?

All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb.
But you have been cast out of your tomb…(Isaiah 14:12-21).

The Evil One rules this world bringing greater evil.
Yet, as God’s people, do we not become the Evil One’s instruments?
We help him do what he must.
We know the Evil One’s end; how can ours be any different?

I watched outside the temple as people brought their offerings.

One man could hardly drag the lamb up the stairs to be accepted by the priests.
The lamb’s hind leg was broken, unable to support its weight.
What sacrifice is this—to the God of the universe?

Another man came with his grain offering, a basket filled with moldy grain. 
I recognized him as one of the rulers. He owned the best land outside the city.
The grain offering should have represented the first fruits of his harvest,
But his looked like what was left over from last year, cleaned off his storage bin floor.
Did he think God would not know?

Then the Lord spoke, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me and their reverence for Me consists of tradition, learned by rote, therefore, behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people; the wisdom of their wise men will perish and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.” (Isaiah 29:13- ).

Did I not say, my people would be conquered because they lack knowledge?
Foolish men! 
Who think of themselves morethan they should.
And think of God less than they ought.

As I watch my people, the darkness only gets darker.
Evil becomes more arrogant and obstinate.
No longer do men hide their wicked deeds. They flaunt them like a banner!
They call evil, “Good.” 
They destroy those who hinder them.
The Lord takes no pleasure in their young men.
Nor does He pity their orphans or widows.
For every one of them is godless and evil.
Every mouth speaks foolishness. (Isaiah 9:17).

Ever try to convince someone they are wrong?
They can’t understand logic nor acknowledge rules and standards.  
They have become fools.
The truth can’t penetrate their darkness.
Even Sheol is excited to meet them. (Isaiah 14:9).

I despair at the impending doom hovering my people. 
 Fore, it is coming.

Then the Lord spoke:
“Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay? 
That what is made would say to its maker, ‘he did not make me’ or what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘he has no understanding’?”(Isaiah 29:13-16).

It’s no wonder the Lord has judgment coming to My people!
We have told God what He should do.
What arrogance!

Will all be lost? Will God save no one?

Thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved.
In quietness and trust is your strength.Butyou were not willing.” (Isaiah 30:15).

But the Lord reassures those who do repent.
“The one who remains faithful, the steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, 8).

“Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. (Isaiah 41:10).
I have called you by name. You are Mine! 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched.
Nor will the flame burn you.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1-7).

The Lord alone have been a defense for the helpless,
A refuge from the storm,
A shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless is like a rain storm against a wall.
Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens;
Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced. (Isaiah 25:4-5).

Notice: though the Lord saves us, we still endure persecution.
I sigh.

I am weary of seeing the evil my people do.
Is there no limit to evil?

With evil, my people are oppressed, beaten down, without hope.
No—not without hope.
For the Coming Child will deliver us.
You have promised.

“Take courage, fear not.
Behold your God will come with vengeance;
But He will save you. (Isaiah 35:4).

I’m not like King Ahaz, who won’t ask for a sign.
I would like to know when these things will come.

The Lord answered, “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness,
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3).

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness.
I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you,
And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,

—the eyes of the blind will be opened,
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy—
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

I am the Lord, that is My name.
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images,
Behold the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you. (Isaiah 35:4-6, 42:5-9).

I was confused by these words. 
For we are God’s chosen people.
Why would His light go to the nations?

Instead of explaining, He added to my confusion:
“I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
For the Lord God helps Me. (Isaiah 50:4-7).

“Sounds like how my people treat Your prophets!”
I stopped suddenly, realizing what that would mean.

SAY IT SLOWLY “The Child, the one born of a virgin,” 
I paused unable to voice my thoughts, “This is what happens to him?”

 As if by answer, the Lord continued,
“But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, 
He will bear their iniquities.
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors.
He himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:10-12).

I tore my cloak and rent my tunic.
God would send help and we would destroy Him!
How can He deliver us from evil if He dies?

Instead of answering, the Lord spoke again,

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand
And marked off the heavens by the span?

And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,

And weighed the mountains in a balance
And the hills in a pair of scales?

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or as His counselor has informed Him?
With whom did He consult Who gave Him understanding?
Who taught Him in the path of justice, knowledge and understanding.
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,

And as a speck of dust on the scales.
Behold He lifts up the islands like fine dust.

All the nations are as nothing before Him.
To whom then will you liken God?

Will you compare Him to the idols made by your hand?
He sits above the circle of the earth.
He reduces rulers to nothing.
He blows on them, and they wither.

To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal? Says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high and see Who has created these stars,
Who numbers them.
He calls them all by name.
Because of the greatness and strength not one is missing.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
He gives strength to the weary.
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youth grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40)

Who am I to question His ways?
I must obey and remember,
The Lord has sworn, “Just as I have intended, so it has happened. 
And just as I have planned so it will stand.” (Isaiah 14:24).

There is no one besides Me. (Isaiah 45:6).

As the Lord spoke, I lifted my eyes toward heaven and fell to my knees.
He will send the Coming One Who will deliver the earth.
He will be born of a virgin. Sinless. Holy. God.
Yet He will become our sin offering, delivered to a Holy God Who cannot look at sin.

SAY IT SLOWLY. And we will kill Him.

But God Who knows all things, will do what must be done to save us.

And “All men will see and recognize that ‘the hand of the Lord has done this.’” (Isaiah 41:20).


Isaiah died before the Coming One came. 
But just as God said, so it has happened. (Isaiah 14:24).

God sent His Son, Jesus, born of a virgin, to this sinful world to be killed by the very men whom He made. So that we may be right with Him.

What more is there to do but worship Him?

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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