If there was just one verse to summarise the whole 66 chapters of Isaiah it might well be Isaiah 2:22, “Stop trusting in man, who has but breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?”
In Isaiah’s day the people who claimed to follow God were doing everything else but this. In chapter 28 we see that amongst other things the religious leaders had given up and were seriously drunk. I guess they did not believe God could save them, they sort help from other places and they must have wondered if God was really real. Sadly, rather than turn to God for help they drowned their sorrows and as we shall also see they tried to get Egypt to help them. It is hard to be a leader in the temple if you think the ‘god you represent’ is impotent or maybe even non-existent.
This is a very sad picture of what can happen when people stop trusting God and stop listening to his word and being transformed by what he says. It is not as if the leaders were short on people who called them back to listening to God and trusting him – God had sent heaps of prophets. It is not as if God was not directly talking to his people… they just did not want to listen.
I wonder if we do the same.
The verse from James 1:22 says “do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves, do what it says.” It is easy for us to have and hear the word of God… but do we do what it says?
One of the biggest challenges facing the denominational churches today is working out whether they are going to trust the word of God or working out if they are going to follow the ways of society. Of course there are those who have rejected the clear teaching of scripture or devised clever ways around it. They reject the position of God’s word on marriage being the only place for sex, or they reject the value scripture places on human life thus allowing the killing of probably around 100 000 babies a year in our country alone. Once they reject the word of God they only can rely on the word of humanity … and this is not very reliable and often inconsistent.
Whilst we might see easily how others no longer listen to the word of God it is worth while now thinking what we do with the word of God. There are two ways in which we can easily reject God’s word. Firstly we are so used to seeking the advice of experts to make decisions in life that we often forget to find out what God says on the subject. Secondly when we do know what God’s word says on a subject, do we strive to obey it. Or do we only obey it if it does not inconvenience us much.
And on top of these two dangers, we need to think about whether we bring things to God in prayer… but that is for another article.
Just as in Isaiah’s day there are plenty today who claim to follow God yet seem to also claim that God’s word is outdated and no longer needed to be listened to. Do not be foolish enough to put your trust in their empty words they have but breath in their nostrils. Of what account are they?