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The prophets and priests criticized Isaiah for treating them like children. They claimed that Isaiah was teaching them the same lesson like they were in an elementary schoolroom.
The truth of the matter is that they were right. Isaiah had only one or two basic teachings. The problem was that they weren’t responding to his counsel.
Trying to reason with the prophets and priest was like talking to someone who is quite drunk. The ability to reason with them was a fruitless exercise.
Isaiah viewed the religious leaders of Jerusalem like this.
Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor,
blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not from wine;
stagger, but not from strong drink! (Isaiah 29.9)
The leaders were wise to the world, but they were unable to understand what God was doing. They were blind to God’s activity because God’s word didn’t endorse what they wanted to happen.
It is a profound act of grace for God to communicate his desires to humans. His fatherly love motivates him to guide us to the best possible life.
If we refuse God’s gracious direction, the result is that we are left to remain in blindness.
For the Lord has poured out upon you
a spirit of deep sleep;
he has closed your eyes, you prophets,
and covered your heads, you seers. (Isaiah 29.10)
The world is thrown into chaos when its spiritual, business, and political leaders live in a fog of ignorance to the things of God.
The tragic history of war, oppression, inequity, and so much more could be written as an essay about very smart people who are spiritually blind.
The elementary school lesson of “treat others like you want to be treated” would revolutionize the world in which we live if world leaders modeled that kind of behavior.
A Sealed Message
An old saying states, “A person who doesn’t read the Bible is no better than someone who can’t read the Bible at all.”
This was happening with the leaders, and Isaiah confronted them with these words.
“The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, ‘Read this,’ they say, ‘We cannot, for it is sealed.’
“And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, ‘Read this,’ they say, ‘We cannot read'” (Isaiah 29.11-12).
I have a saying about leaders. When the people who wear suits give wrong information to those who wear blue jeans, we are in trouble.
When the “suits” are spiritually blind, then the “jeans” crowd suffers. That has been true for at least 2700 years.
Willing or Willful
The one thing we have that God wants is our heart given to him in love. The word “willingness” captures that spirit.
A willful person retains their own heart and will. If they engage in worship, it is to bend God’s will to theirs and not the other way around.
The people of Jerusalem engaged in willful worship rather than willing worship.
The Lord said:
Because these people draw near with their mouths
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;
So I will again do
amazing things with this people,
shocking and amazing.
The wisdom of their wise shall perish,
and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden. (Isaiah 29.13-14)
Religion cannot make God work for us. We can’t say the right words or summon the proper emotion and get what we want.
The spiritual blindness of the supposed “spiritual” leaders was a product of their willful attempt to get what they wanted from God.
The Book of Proverbs reveals the true source of wisdom and knowledge.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1.7)
People who live in the “fear of the Lord” also have a willing heart toward God.
Deuteronomy defines the “fear of the Lord” with these words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6.5).
As we consider this chapter of Isaiah, please join me in praying for world leaders. Please include business, religion, education, political, and entertainment leaders.
Also, please check to see if you are willing or willful in your relationship with God. Thanks.
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.