Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 29

One of the most dangerous things we can do in this life is pursue our own way instead of pursuing God's way. As independent creatures, our natural inclination is to go off on our own and try to figure things out for ourselves. This is dangerous in multiple ways. First, we often have no idea what we are doing when we are being so headstrong. Second, if we pursue something without seeking God first, it is not always right. Third, what we often pursue without God is a shortcut, and shortcuts are not always good. Chapter 29 of Isaiah is a continuation of judgment against Israel, and that judgment comes from them pursuing shortcuts and their own way.

9 Be stunned and amazed,
       blind yourselves and be sightless;
       be drunk, but not from wine,
       stagger, but not from beer.

 10 The LORD has brought over you a deep sleep:
       He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
       he has covered your heads (the seers).

 11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I can't; it is sealed." 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I don't know how to read." – Isaiah 29:9-12

Why would the nation of Israel be stunned and awed at the vision presented before these verses? It is because when the Assyrian invasion that Isaiah alluded to actually happened, the people of Israel were stunned it was happening. They had pursued their own way in order to prevent and their best laid plans had gone awry. God was trying to speak to them and trying to get them to rely on Him, but they were not listening. They felt they knew better than God, so here God is basically saying, "Fine. Have it your way."

This carries over into our own lives even today. When I was going through college, I was not as close to God as I am right now. I sought Him for general guidance, but when graduation came and the time to get a real job was at hand I felt I knew best. I felt that if I didn't get the job for the very first interview I had then everything that I had learned in four years was a mistake. To my own inflated abilities, the job was beneath me and was merely a starting point for someone with my overwhelming talent. I probably had this attitude in the interview as well.

In the ensuing six years, God has humbled me. He has shown me that I am not nearly as good as I made myself out to be back then, and that my attitude, even through school, of having everything nicely set up and handed to me because of my talents was wrong. It was a hard lesson to learn, and took several failed interviews to do so, but I finally learned that I am where God needs me, and I need to go at His pace instead of my own. I too was once stunned and amazed that what was happening wasn't according to my plan, but in that I learned to trust God.

We see more of this in the rest of chapter 29, as Israel had even begun bending the rules for worshipping God according to verse 13. God is not someone or something that can be put into a box or have a shortcut for. He is not something we can bend the rules on for our own benefit. It is His grace that allows a way to become righteous, and in that righteousness we must serve Him.


  1. What shortcuts do you have with God?

  2. How do your own plans differ with God's plans for you?

  3. How does seeking God in all things begin?


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