I don’t know if you do things like this — sometimes I do — put your finger where you are reading in the Bible and close the book to see how far you’ve progressed. If you haven’t noticed, we’re over half-way through. In fact, we’re almost half-way through the book of Isaiah with today’s reading. Keep going! Starting tomorrow, we’ll be reading some of more glorious parts of the book: the glorious future (ch. 32), the Highway of Holiness (ch. 35), historical sections of the invasion of the Assyrians (chs. 36,39), and the more memorable Messianic sections (chs. 42ff).
Let’s dive into the three sections that I think you’ll find especially interesting in today’s reading…
“For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, Nor is the cartwheel driven over cummin; But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a club. Grain for bread is crushed, Indeed, he does not continue to thresh it forever. Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it, He does not thresh it longer. This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.” Isaiah 28:27-29 — This is part of a larger context that has a really neat message about God’s grace and mercy even in His judgment. The essence of the illustration used here is that you don’t use the same harvesting and processing techniques on different farm products; to do differently will either fail to get the grain (for bread) or utterly destroy the thing you wanted to harvest (dill). So also with God’s punishment; it isn’t a one size fits all endeavor. God’s interest in these judgments that we’ve been reading about is not in merely venting His spleen about man’s unfaithfulness. If He did that we’d all be destroyed in a moment. God’s interest is in getting mankind’s attention and correcting and guiding him — just like a good parent. Now there is a day coming in which God will give full vent to His righteous wrath on sinful men and He will “destroy” them in Hell; but that is not what is in view here. Here we see a God who’s real interest is in us. Are you listening? Are you forcing God’s stronger hand by failing to be corrected? That’s not to say that all suffering and trial are God’s judgment; sometimes our suffering is innocent. I’m just saying, it’s something to seriously consider.
“The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, “Please read this.” And he will say, “I cannot read.” Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”” Isaiah 29:11-14 — This passage was quoted by Jesus as He argued with the Pharisees about their tradition, and it’s a pretty strong statement. The larger context, however, has an even stronger statement about how such traditions can and often do actually render literate men effectively illiterate. How many PhD’d individuals, who’ve read every theology in the library, who’ve studied every tradition, who’ve heard every class lecture, and who’ve even written a book or two on them have had their eyes (minds) blinded from the words of God Himself by the traditions of men? Many, many, many.
“For this is a rebellious people, false sons, Sons who refuse to listen To the instruction of the LORD; Who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, Speak to us pleasant words, Prophesy illusions. “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, Therefore this iniquity will be to you Like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant,” Isaiah 30:9-13 — This passage takes little comment. It speaks plainly about the contempt that some men have for unpleasant words from God. These words are pretty similar to those used among the politically correct, yesterday, today, and right down to the last moment. We must be careful, when God says things we don’t like — they may be unpleasant, but they will always be true, and we will be judged by them.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.