Lean On MeJuly 2, 2012 - 5:00 am
“I will restore your leaders as in days of old,
your rulers as at the beginning.
Afterward you will be called
the City of Righteousness,
the Faithful City.” — Isaiah 1:26
Something was rotten in the land of Israel — and it started at the top. After recounting the many failings and sins of its people, the great prophet Isaiah expressed his longing for the days – hundreds of years before his time – when the people of Israel were led by the likes of Moses, Aaron and Joshua.
This sounds pretty familiar. And while we often get involved in discussions about the sad state of affairs today and long for the good old days, typically, it’s just talk. Rarely, do we follow up with some type of action to change the situation.
Not so in the case of Isaiah.
After criticizing the various leaders who had presided during his lifetime, Isaiah lays out a strategy for returning to the spiritual highs of the days of the Exodus (under Moses) and the settlement of the land of Israel (under Joshua). Isaiah argues that a true national revival must be rooted in justice, fairness and, most importantly, holding ourselves, our neighbours, and especially our leaders accountable.
In fact, the ancient sages explained the deeper meaning of the passage we read above as follows: God will only give His divine blessing to our community if we do our best to make sure that our leaders are good and upstanding citizens. After all, God knows that we are all responsible for the words and deeds of those who speak for us.
But this isn’t just true of our society’s leaders. Each and every one of us must feel a sense of accountability for his or her friends and family. And in turn, we must all ask our friends and family to be there for us – to help us reach the spiritual goals that we set for ourselves. As Isaiah understood so well, this is the best, most effective way for us to make sure that we’re always making progress in perfecting our relationships with God and with our fellow man.
So next time you are with your friends, or spend time with your loved ones, let them know how much you rely on them to make you a better person. And let them know that, in return, you will always be there for them – encouraging them on every step of their journey through life.
In this way – as Isaiah tells us – we will become a “City of Righteousness” and a “Faithful City.”