Our next practical lesson from Isaiah is this:
5. CHILDREN MUST REACH A CERTAIN MENTAL AGE BEFORE THEY ARE MORALLY ACCOUNTABLE.
Isaiah 7:16 - "For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings."
Children must be taught to understand the difference between right and wrong. A three-year-old may lie repeatedly when questioned (e.g., "Did you push your baby sister?"), but a toddler lacks significant understanding about many things and is surely not accountable before God. At some point, a normally developing child will reach an age where he understands right from wrong. That age, often referred to as the age of accountability, is attained at different times for different children, since children mature at different rates.
6. GOD JUDGES ALL NATIONS IN REAL-TIME BUT INDIVIDUALS AT THE FINAL DAY.
There are many examples in Isaiah of God's judgment being brought against nations. For example: Isaiah 13:1 - "The burden against Babylon..." 15:1 - "The burden against Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste and destroyed..." 17:1 - "The burden against Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap." Sometimes God judges individuals here on Earth, rewarding and punishing accordingly, but this is not always the case. There are plenty of wicked people who appear to prosper quite well in this realm and many righteous who suffer greatly. God does not reckon all of His individual accounts, so to speak, while we live here in the flesh (cf. Matt. 25:19). However, one can make a strong case that God does judge nations in real-time here on Earth. When the sins of a nation overflow, He raises up another nation to punish or remove them. And if a nation repents, God will respond accordingly (e.g., Jer. 18:7-10).
7. LEGALISTIC ENSLAVEMENT TO TRADITION IS A POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR DEVOTION.
Isaiah 29:13 - "Therefore the LORD said: 'Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men."
The nation had an outward form of religion, but it was not heartfelt or sincere--it was just keeping traditions for them. Their reverence of God was superficial and not genuine. This is a serious potential problem today for Christians who have been followers of Christ all their lives. If we are not careful, what began as sincere can become empty and meaningless over time. God wants our hearts devoted to Him in real reverence, not blindly following traditions or going through the motions thinking there is power in such.
8. WHEN NECESSARY, GOD WILL INTERVENE DIRECTLY TO FULFILL HIS WILL.
Isaiah 37:36 - "Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses--all dead."
God intervened directly and powerfully to keep His word and fulfill His will, and the cost in human lives was very great. Although a strong case can be made (both Biblically and empirically) that no humans are performing miracles today via the power of God's Spirit, there is no Biblical passage that demands God Himself has ceased intervening in a direct fashion when necessary. If it suits God's will, He most certainly could intervene today. We may not be in a position to identify an event as a direct act of the Almighty, but that doesn't deny the possibility. In the end, the Father will directly intervene by sending the Son back for final judgment (cf. Matt. 25:36ff).
9. ALTHOUGH LIFE IS SHORT & FRAGILE, THE WORD OF GOD ENDURES FOREVER.
Isaiah 40:8 - "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."
Praise be to God for this wonderful truth! Sometimes humans die unexpectedly and consequently leave responsibilities and promises unfulfilled since they cannot fulfill their word from the grave. This is not a problem with Jehovah for He is eternal and His powerful word will faithfully stand forever!