Seeing Is Not Believing

Seeing Is Not Believing

Isaiah 11:3-5

And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Isaiah is speaking of the Messiah.  If you read further into chapter 11, specifically verses 6 through 9, you will read about the peace that the Messiah will bring to the world.  What I wanted to write about is what Isaiah is saying in verses 3 through 5, and how they apply to the present, especially with all the technology and how easy it is to manipulate the truth. Continue reading

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading

A Pot Among Earthen Pots

A Pot Among Earthen Pots

Isaiah 45:9-12

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?
Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
    or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’”

Thus says the Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
“Ask me of things to come;
    will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
I made the earth
    and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
    and I commanded all their host.

Before I sat down to write this post I read some commentaries about theses verses, in order to get a better understanding of what Isaiah is saying, and to whom these words are directed.

Isaiah is speaking to the Jews who are grumbling against God.  They are complaining about how God has allowed them to be taken into captivity before sending them salvation.  Some of them are wondering why God didn’t just cut out all the drama and turmoil of being enslaved by foreign invaders and just save them from being captured in the first place. Continue reading

The Whip Will Not Come To Us

The Whip Will Not Come To Us

Isaiah 28:14-15

Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
    who rule this people in Jerusalem!
Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
    and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
    it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
    and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;

Isaiah is reprimanding the leaders in Jerusalem.  Isaiah lived during the time of 740 to 680 BC.  So Isaiah’s words speak of what was going on in ancient times.  But Isaiah could go to D.C. today, stand on the steps of the Capitol Building, speak these words and they would still be applicable.

Isaiah addresses the leaders as scoffers, those who scoff, speak of God scornfully, derisively and mockingly.  The leaders who scoff at righteousness and wish to make themselves gods who will define for all, their idea of righteousness.  And by all they mean everyone except themselves.  They will set the moral standards by which the unwashed masses will live their lives.  For the people they govern are uneducated and unenlightened. They cannot see the vision of the self-proclaimed gods. Continue reading

Twinkies and Candy Bars

Twinkies and Candy Bars

Isaiah 55:1-2

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.

 “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”  That is a question we all should ask ourselves every day, and then we should honestly answer it. Continue reading

Expectations of False Gods

Expectations of False Gods

Isaiah 51:7-8

On a high and lofty mountain
    you have set your bed,
    and there you went up to offer sacrifice.
Behind the door and the doorpost
    you have set up your memorial;
for, deserting me, you have uncovered your bed,
    you have gone up to it,
    you have made it wide;
and you have made a covenant for yourself with them,
    you have loved their bed,
    you have looked on nakedness.

Isaiah starts Chapter 51 of his book with this verse:

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord….

Isaiah prophesied about the pending destruction of Judah and the Jews being carried off into captivity by the king of Babylon.  Those captured and enslaved will be the lucky ones, the others are set to be destroyed by pestilence, famine and the sword. Continue reading

Humble and Contrite

Humble and Contrite

Isaiah 66:1-2

Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
    and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
    and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
    and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
    he who is humble and contrite in spirit
    and trembles at my word

Through the words of Isaiah, God is reminding us about what matters most in our lives, and that is having God in your heart.

This is one of the issues I have with the large corporate churches.  They tell us that their lavish buildings and furnishings are for the glory of God.  They tell us that the amount of money that flows through the organization is for doing the work of the Lord.    I’m not quite sure what their excuse is for the lavish life style they lead.  Perhaps they feel it is their just reward, the universe balancing out for them, rewarding them for being such a good person.  I don’t begrudge anyone for making any amount of money, no matter how obscene it might seem, but just be honest about it. Continue reading