I was drawn to the prophecy of Isaiah yesterday and provoked by the Lord's message to His people regarding their seeking safety through an alliance with the world, in this case represented by Egypt. The particular portion of scripture was Isa 29:9-30:21, but four verses give the essence of God's message.
29:13 - The Lord here states the reason He is bound by His own holiness to bring judgment on His people: their religion had become mere form, their "faith" unbelief! They gave the appearance of seeking Him but, in fact, they had turned from truly reverencing His word(s) and leading. Their actions proceeded on the basis of a "faith" based on man's self-help precepts rather than submission to their LORD God and the "faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). In other words, their personal "faith" resulted in their ultimately doing what seemed right in their own eyes after some superficial form of religious seeking, rather than truly seeking and submitting to the Lord's specific leading, i.e. His lordship over their life.
30:2 - In the previous verse (30:1) the LORD stated the proof of the above stated sin. He declared that they "take counsel, but not of me; and cover with a covering, but not of my spirit." The word "covering" signifies a "pouring," indicative of a religous act such as when the priest poured oil on the head of one being anointed for godly service. In other words, these appeared to be seeking the Lord's leading, but their seeking was mere religious form; they were not led by God's Spirit. In spite of the religious appearance of their seeking, the LORD makes plain that He considered their actions to be sin. In this verse (30:2), He is even more specific, condemning them because they "walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth." God thinks His opinion on the affairs of our life is important! And rightly so. After all, we are a purchased possession, His property, His servants!
30:7 - That the LORD had a very specific answer to give them is made plain here as He tells those listening to the prophet what His advice is. They were facing a great challenge in the form of their enemy Sennacherib. They thought it would be very prudent to seek out a military alliance that would strengthen them. However, the LORD told them their plans were going to fail, that they should have sought His voice and listened to His very specific and practical counsel: "[Your] strength is to sit still."
30:21 - Here the LORD leaves no doubt that He is speaking of His specific, practical leading of His people. He exhorts them further by encouraging them with the fact that once His judgment for their sins is completed, and they willingly submit to His lordship over their life and seek Him as they should, He will lead them personally and practically: "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." He would have led them in this manner earlier, but their "turning of things upside down" (29:16) prevented Him. In other words, they perverted God's ways, turned things "upside down," by exalting their understanding and ability to determine a right way for themselves above His ability, willingness and desire to show them His perfect "plain path" (Psalm 27:11) to safety and blessing.
The fact that His people did not seek His specific counsel and direction offended God. It was sin, unbelief. Had His people sought His advice (which was in that time given through His prophets), waited to receive it, and obeyed it once received, they would have been blessed rather than cursed.
God does not change (nor does carnal man). He is the same yesterday, today and for ever. He has a voice, He still speaks, and He still expects His children to seek His specific counsel and obey Him as He reveals it.
Today, God's Spirit, the Great Counselor, dwells in every true believer and speaks God's will to every submissive heart through His holy, all-sufficient Word. Only He knows our true needs and their best supply. He desires to lead us in the green pastures and still waters of His choosing, the fields of His blessing and peace. Trust Him. Seek His face early and often. Make all your requests known to Him. Pray for ears to hear His "still small voice," eyes to see His way, and a heart to submit to His lordship in your life. If you will sincerely do this, He will lead you specifically in all matters that you truly commit to His care, and He will never lead you wrong.
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