Isaiah 30:1-5 ESV
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
For though his officials are at Zoan
and his envoys reach Hanes,
everyone comes to shame
through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
but shame and disgrace.”
Whenever we put our hope and trust in human beings to save us, we are on dangerous ground. Whenever we put our hope and trust in the things of this world, or in politicians or preachers or church buildings or the economy, etc., we are trusting in people and things that are subject to failure and/or that might actually turn against us.
Yet, so many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are trusting in themselves, in their own flesh, or in other humans, or in relationships not sanctioned by God, or in their addictions, or in lies that they tell themselves in order to appease their consciences, which then permit them to continue in sinful practices unhindered and without guilt.
So many Christians are looking to other humans or to the government, or to their jobs, their money, their homes, etc. to provide for their needs. But, all of these are subject to fail us and/or to disappear. Nothing of this world is permanent. We can’t put our dependency in man or in the things of this world, and yet many do.
Isaiah 30:8-14 ESV
And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
leave 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,
“Because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and perverseness
and rely on them,
therefore this iniquity shall be to you
like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse,
whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel
that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a shard is found
with which to take fire from the hearth,
or to dip up water out of the cistern.”
Some people naively put their trust in politicians, preachers, the news media, and the system of government within a nation, while others knowingly refuse God’s instructions to them, and they choose to follow man over God. Their flesh craves what man has to offer them, and so they ignore God’s commandments in order to follow after the lusts of their flesh.
They don’t like the truth, because the truth restricts their ability to keep on in their sinful practices and in their adulteries. And, so they reject the truth, and they end up following after the lie, instead, because they don’t want to let go of what they know is wrong, is harmful, and is against God.
But, they don’t just lie to themselves. They lie to others, too, because they want to keep their secretive world a secret. So, they might even put on a false show of righteousness in order to cover-up their “alliances” that are not of God. But, they are depending on a lie, and they are counting on that lie not being revealed, so that they can continue to seek shelter in what is against God, and in what is against His Word.
So, in order to appease their consciences, they shut out the truth, and they refuse to hear the instruction of the Lord, the whole counsel of God. And, so they “cherry pick” the scriptures that they like, out of context, which agree with their chosen lifestyles. And, they hold on to those half-truths in order to console themselves when they even begin to feel any guilt at all.
So, they also have to silence those who are still preaching the truth of the gospel of our salvation. So, first of all, they try to do this by trying to persuade those who are still preaching the truth to leave the right way, and to get off that path of righteousness. And, so they try to convince them that what they are teaching is “works-based” salvation and that what they should be teaching is really “true grace.”
But, God has the final word in this. And, their folly will be revealed for what it is, eventually. One day it is all going to come crashing down, and then what will they be left with? All that they put their dependency in will not help them. It will not save them.
For, the only salvation for them, and for any of us, is via the cross of Christ, in death to sin and in living to Christ’s righteousness in the power of God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14).
Isaiah 30:15-18 ESV
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
The only hope for any of us is for us is to put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ and in His Word. And that trust, that faith is God-given, and it is divinely persuaded. And, thus it submits to Christ as Lord, and it leaves lifestyles of sin behind us, and it follows our Lord in obedience to his ways.
But, far too many people today who profess faith in Jesus Christ are not willing to fully surrender their lives to Christ. They are not willing to die to their sinful lifestyles in order that they might live to Christ and to his righteousness. For, they want to hold on to their sinful practices. They want to continue in their adulteries unhindered, and without guilt.
And, so they put their hands up to God’s face and they tell him “NO!” And, they shut him out of their lives, and they do not let him inside because they don’t want to stop doing what makes them “feel good.” But, one day it is all going to come back to bite them. For, scripture teaches that if we walk according to the flesh, we are going to die in our sins, because we refused to die to our sins.
But, our Lord is a loving and a merciful God. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. And, so he is waiting patiently for those who are now unwilling to heed his voice to return to him with their whole hearts. But, he won’t wait forever. And, you might not live to have the opportunity to repent of your sins, either.
But, just know that God’s grace to us is not freedom to continue in willful, habitual, rebellious and premeditated sin against God. God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
Also know what the Word of God says regarding how we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But, if we sow to please the Spirit, by the Spirit, then from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 5:16-21).
For, Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He shed his blood on that cross in order to buy us back for God, that we would now be God’s possession, and that we might now honor God with our lives.
In fact, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:14; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, going wherever he leads us, and we are to forsake our sinful lifestyles in order to follow him in obedience.
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
Though, dear Lord, in Thy pathway keeping,
We follow Thee;
Through the gloom of that place of weeping,
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
By and by, through the shining portals,
Turning our feet,
We shall walk, with the glad immortals,
Heav’n’s golden street.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
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