Sunday, November 09, 2008

This it the way, walk in it.

Isaiah 30:19 – 22

This is the way, walk in it”


Israel’s Problem:

 

            1.         They were STUBBORN.


“Woe to the obstinate children,” [Isaiah 30:1a]

 

                        a.         The word translated “obstinate” literally means “unmanageable” [BDB]

 

                        b.         In other words, they had willfully chosen to NOT be lead.


[Ill. The TV show “The Apprentice.” Strategies to be “unmanageable” and not get caught or the blame... “Passive – Aggressive” is one way to be unmanagable.]

 

            2.         The made PLANS WITHOUT GOD.


“...to those who carry out plans that are not mine...” [Isaiah 30:1b]

 

                        a.         The plans made did not include God.


“In the school of church growth, there is no room for the Holy Spirit.” [Dr. George Hunter III]

 

                        b.         Here is a test: If you can accomplish it with your own strength, understand it with your own mind, resource it with your own labor.... It’s not from God.


“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:9]


“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; [6] in all your ways SUBMIT him, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:5 – 6 TNIV]

 

            3.         They made ALLIANCES.


“forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit” [Isaiah 30:1c]

 

                        a.         Resources their plans...

 

                        b.         Fuel their unmanageable disposition.


[This was a political problem... in psychology there are “enablers” who in some form help the bad behavior. One way to “enable” is to keep silent.]

 

            4.         The COMPOUNDED SIN.


“heaping sin upon sin.” [Isaiah 30:1d]

 

                        a.         Sin is addictive and blinding.


“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. [“desperately wicked” KJV] Who can understand it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]

 

                        b.         In other words, “you can’t change.” It is willful and habitual.


“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” [Psalm 19:13]


RESULT: “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” [Isaiah 30:15]


*****The natural human tendency is the habit of NOT listening to God.*****


God’s solution to our habit of NOT listening is GRACE and COMPASSION.


“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you...” [Isaiah 30:18a]

 

            1.         This is the “grace” and “mercy” complex.

 

                        a.         Grace is getting what we do NOT deserve.


“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [2 Corinthians 5:21]

 

                        b.         Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve.


“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” [Psalm 103:10]

 

            2.         Patience to God means something different than it means to us.

 

                        a.         Patient is not inactivity.


“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [2 Peter 3:9]


“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:31]

 

                        b.         Patience implies we have a choice of destiny.


“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...” [Joshua 24:15]


“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” [1 Peter 4:3]


Why then do we behave the way we do?

 

            1.         Being SELFISH is easier.

 

                        a.         If all we have to consider is our own self, our self-interests, our self-wants... it’s simpler than having to consider others.

 

                        b.         We want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it, the way we want. It is the willfulness of a child. (“Woe to the obstinate children,” [Isaiah 30:1a])


“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [Romans 1:21]

 

            2.         Being IGNORANT is easier.

 

                        a.         Knowledge implies responsibility or a call to action. Neither are comfortable.


“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. [20] Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. [21] But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” [John 3:19 – 21]

 

                        b.         If we KNOW God is right... the we are faced with the choice of allowing God to be right about everything and follow God’s directions.


“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.” [Isaiah 30:21]


“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. [25] Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” [Galatians 5:24 – 25]

 

            3.         Being NEGLECTFUL is natural.


We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. [2] For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, [3] how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. [4] God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” [Hebrews2:1 – 5]

 

                        a.         Spiritual drifting, it is a slow, casual, movement away from God’s truth. It is the systematic (deliberate or otherwise) deafness we develop.

 

                        b.         Another sure sign of spiritual neglect is the ignorance and non-exercise of spiritual gifts. (We are going to be talking about this early next year.)

 

            4.         God meets these with “adversity” [literally “narrow” “tight”] and “affliction” [oppression, distress, and pressure]

 

                        a.         When God narrows our choices or makes us feel like we have no choices (as opposed to us feeling comfortably in control) then we had better be listening.

 

                        b.         God wants the best for us.


“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” [Isaiah 30:15]


What do we need to do about this?

 

            1.         Pray for God to give us a new heart.


“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” [Ezekiel 36:36]

 

                        a.         Everything reflects relationship with God.

 

                        b.         If you can live our lives without God, you are in serious trouble.


“You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. . . . [20] Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” [Revelation 3:17, 20]

 

            2.         Deal with your idols.


“Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, "Away with you!” [Isaiah 30:22]

 

                        a.         Maybe you are “unmanageable.”

 

                        b.         Maybe you have no place for God in your plans.

 

                        c.         Maybe you have acquired the necessary resources to put God on a shelf.

 

                        d.         Maybe you willfully add sin to sin.


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