Reading Time: 5 Minutes
According to a news story I recently read, the three most-watched television channels are Fox, CNN, and CNBC. One of the networks they have eclipsed is ESPN, much to my surprise.
The rise in viewership of these three news networks is attributed to conflict. Conflict stimulates viewers and gains advertising dollars.
Isaiah and the News
Isaiah was not confronted with 24-hour news and sports stations in his day, but he did experience many conflicting views about the immanent troubles facing his nation.
If TV and social media had been around, God would have told him to stop interacting with them.
Here is what God said, “For the Lord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:
“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread” (Isaiah 8.11-12).
The key phrase is “this people” (verse 11). The people of God will always be led in the wrong direction if they are taking their cue from people who are dominated by the world’s system.
Fear, conspiracy, and dread are the motivating forces of a this-world mindset.
Don’t get me wrong. There are people and events of which to be afraid. There are genuine conspiracies, not just “conspiracy theories.”
Let’s be clear. When God tells us “to not walk in the way of this people,” we need to sit up and take notice.
Follow God’s Direction
The message to Isaiah is a very important one for us today.
God said, “But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear and let him be your dread” (Isaiah 8.13).
Let’s examine each element of this verse.
(1) God is the Lord of the heavenly hosts. There are earthly rulers, but God is the Supreme Ruler of every created being in the heavenly realm.
Should God not be our Lord, too?
(2) What does it mean to regard God as holy?
If we don’t make God holy in our hearts, we will see him as unable or unwilling to make a difference in our lives. If he is not holy to us, he may also be unimportant.
When we try to solve our problems with our intellect and abilities, we end up making God insignificant.
When Moses took it upon himself to provide water for God’s people, his lack of trust in God diminished God’s holiness before the people.
In turn, God said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me, to show my holiness before the eyes of the Israelites, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them” (Numbers 10.12).
To regard God as holy is to make him the most significant fact of our lives. This will be demonstrated by our attitudes and behavior.
(3) Instead of acting out of fear and dread over what is a concern to the general public, we seek God’s direction and follow it.
In short, if we place our trust in anything short of God, we are trusting the wrong person or thing.
Our Sanctuary or Stumbling Block
The attitude we take toward God will determine what aspect of him we will experience.
If we follow the counsel given to Isaiah, God will be a protective sanctuary for us. If not, we will trip over God on the way to the attempt to fulfill our self-will.
This was Isaiah’s word: “He will become a sanctuary, a stone one strikes against; for both houses of Israel he will become a rock one stumbles over—a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
“And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken” (Isaiah 8.14-15).
How people responded to Jesus is a picture of Isaiah’s message.
People who had a vested interest in retaining their power and influence stumbled over Jesus. Simon the Pharisee couldn’t enjoy a dinner with Jesus, because the wrong kind of woman came and showed Jesus her devotion (See Luke 7.36-50).
On the other hand, when Zacchaeus had dinner with Jesus (Luke 19.1-10), it transformed his life.
If we “walk in the way of this people,” we will stumble over Jesus and miss his plan for our lives. We will listen to the “noise” of this world and join them in their fear, dread, and conspiracies.
We haven’t heard what we need to hear until we have heard from the Lord.
Our attitudes and behavior of complete trust in God’s guidance is a way of regarding him as holy.
This pathway is God’s gracious direction for our lives in troubling times.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.