The Land Dries Up

In the week or so since I finished reading For the Beauty of the Earth (Bouma-Prediger, 2010), I’ve come across the following two passages in the OT/HS.

Isaiah 24:1-6 (NIV, BibleGateway.com; emphasis added)

See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants—
it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant, for the mistress as for her servant, for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor.
The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word.

The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the heavens languish with the earth.
The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.

Hosea 4:1-3

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land:
There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away.”

Verse 1 in the Peshitta reads: “Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel; for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no justice or mercy or knowledge of God in the land;”

Questions:

  • What reaction do you have to this relationship–humans are unjust so the earth suffers?
  • How do you understand God’s role in these two passages?
  • What is the relevance of these texts today for Christians and for the world?
  • In what environmental/creation care issues do you see a direct link between human action and the earth being laid waste?
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