Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Will Listen? Who Will Understand?

Isaiah 6
Isaiah's Commission

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
9 He said, "Go and tell this people:
" 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes. [a]
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed."
11 Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?"
And he answered:
"Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."


Isaiah understood his words were not pure because they flow from with in sinful man. But God had knowledge of Isaiah that Isaiah measured against himself. Isaiah’s understanding of himself was that he was not good enough. Isaiah saw himself as an ordinary man, incapable of speaking the things of God because he was in fact, an ordinary sinful man.

“For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (vs. 5)

But look. God’s angel cleansed him of his past sin and allowed for him to be holy (vs. 6 and 7).

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

I imagine a voice crying out from the depths of Isaiah’s soul; language and expression unable to communicate his sincere desire.
“Here am I! Send me! Send me!”

I will go and speak for you! Even though your words are clear, your intentions perfect and what you ask is of nobility they will not hear, or understand. But, I will go! I will speak and speak proclamation upon proclamation though no one will hear or understand. Though they will call me a fool and may want to shut me up with their wisdom and an understanding from their own knowledge, I will proclaim your desire. My words will not move to convince and give an understanding of your will to these who will not hear or perceive. But I will go!

11 Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?"
And he answered:
"Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,
12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.
In our post resurrection relationship with God, who will comprehend the simplicity of His call: Faith in Christ and love for one another?

People continue to wrestle in explaining what God’s intentions are. They twist and toss the Word of God until it must be the topic of supreme philosophy and higher criticism. All, in an effort to unlock some complicated equation that will continue to be the debate of men “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away [from Him] and the land is utterly forsaken”. Then it will be too late. What about those higher criticisms? Where will the supreme philosophies be to explain away what God has required?

8 comments:

Vicki said...

In our post resurrection relationship with God, who will comprehend the simplicity of His call: Faith in Christ and love for one another?
THis is a mouthful and the most important truth.
I believe in Jesus and His ability to put me in a right relationship with Him. My response is love for others.
Many other thoughts are not nearly as important as this.
There is an offer of righteousness, and an acceptance. I might add that whether or not I truly have free will is an unknown. However, I THINK AND MAKE DECISIONS. I am responsible now and eternally for the end results of those decisions. It is safer to believe in free will and God is certainly more powerful when He permits His creation to think and act, both inside and outside His will.

Arlene Kasselman said...

I get called back to the heart of God by Micah 6:8...What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

In living out our life with Christ in such ways we join God in the work He is already doing and expand the Kingdom.

How Great is Our God!

Great Googly Moogly! said...

I agree that the simplicity of the Gospel can certainly be lost within the context of "much learning". We only need to look at the Pharisees of Jesus' day; and even Paul before his conversion to Christ. Before he came to faith in Christ, he was "blameless, concerning the Law".

But while it is true that the Gospel is simple (believe on the Lord Jesus Christ), and its power is shown in its result (those who have truly believed in Christ will now truly love God and one another--thus proving that we are His disciples), if we are truly those who now love God and one another we will want to continue to get to know our God (theology...really its not a bad word) and one another.

How can we say we love God if we neglect studying, i.e "getting to know", our God. If we fail to study His word (theology), which is contained in both the OT and the NT, then we really can't claim to love Him--since the only way we know Him is through His word.

The Gospel recovers "relationship". Before we came to Christ, we existed in estrangement from God--that was the "curse". Now, "in Christ", we have been restored to right relationship with God "in Christ" and with one another (and the created order). Estrangement is gone and now intimacy marks the child of God. Intimacy is "knowing someone or something". The only way this occurs is through communication. God communicates to us by His Spirit through His word in our own personal study time and in the Body of Christ (the Church) where He uses one another to build one another up in the faith.

The Gospel is simple, but I'm afraid that many who call themselves Christian take the simplicity of the Gospel as an excuse to not study their Bibles and to not go to Church, the Body of Christ which is the institution that God has ordained for the ministry of His grace. The Body (of Christ) causes the growth of the Body (of Christ).

The Gospel is simple, but its truths are deep and profound. We can never plumb depths of the Gospel, which is why we as Christians need to continue to "learn" it--for in knowing the Gospel, we know (and love) our Lord.

We don't study simply for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of "relationship"--to know our God, which is to love our God.

Thanks for the post, Jim. I didn't "comment" because I think your guilty of this in your post...it just got me thinking about how easy it is for people to think, "Hey, I've come to Christ now I don't have to read my Bible or go to church." And quite frankly, that occurs way to often in our supposed "christian" society.

jeleasure said...

GGM,
Yeah, you are correct in stating that too many people come to the Lord and feel they have no need to study.

My intention in writing this was poorly acted on. I wrote this post more out of grief than to tell people of how convoluted they cause theology to become.

I spent a little more than two years on a serious quest to find the doctrine God wanted me to pursue. I was in a church that somehow, I found to be in error. I had very little Bible knowlege, but I found myself in a conversation with a pastor that could not give me some clear answers to logical questioning. So, I set out to attempt to figure the Bible out on my own.
My manuscript is a result of this studying. My greif is that people want to argue my work and lable me a heretic as well as a devil. And I think, "Because I have found the authors of the New Testament to place importance on love, and I want to know why, I am called a devil who teaches damnable doctrine?"

So, I misrepresented myself, here. I infact study more than anyone I know, aside from not knowing the study habits of my Pastors.

I agree with what you have written concerning the need to study. I just do not believe in higher philosophie's criticism of a persons effort to boil all of the supreme knowlege down to a simple concept. And for that, I was grieved.

preacherman said...

Great words.
I enjoyed it.
I hope and pray you have a blessed week!

jeleasure said...

Thanks Preacher Man,
Today, I noticed that you are not on two of my three blogger list. How that happened, I'm not certain. Anyway, that is why I have not been around to check out your last three blog items. My reminder that used to appear on the side bar was gone.
Your link is back. Expect my regular visits, again.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Jim,

I didn't mean to intimate that you were guilty of the things that I was talking about. Just based on your work here, I can tell that you take "knowing God" very seriously. And I also believe that you have hit the nail on the head, so-to-speak, by identifying "love" as the greatest expression of our relationship with God (and thus, with one another). You are in complete agreement with our Lord who told us this Himself

I share you "grief" over the elevation of "doctrine" or "philosophies" over against a true love for God. Far too often, the discipline of studying becomes the "thing in itself" instead of studying for the sake of "knowing" our God and "loving" Him more. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone is idolatrous--knowledge for the sake of relationship is "love".

Your post just made me think of how easy it becomes to just "let go and let God", as if that is truly "love". I see in your posts that you want others (including yourself) to "know" God and to "love" God, which will manifest itself in loving others. None of us has the "complete" doctrine of God figured out, but as we study God in His word (theology) we allow His Spirit within us to teach us who He is (as Christ says of the Spirit) so that we know Him and love Him.

Your intention to stir us up in our love for God and one another is a ministry that is needed in the Body of Christ. We don't want to be those who "know" everything under the sun, but have no love; and we also don't want to be those who "love" without knowledge (which really isn't love at all).

The Apostle Paul warns us against having a zeal (love) for God without knowledge and also for thinking that knowledge, faith, tongues, prophecy, etc. are beneficial without love. These are two extremes that we are warned against and I think you do a great job here. You're always using the Scripture when you're making your points--Love with knowledge! And we can all certainly grow with respect to both, right? :-)

Keep up the good work!

Jason

satire and theology said...

Thanks, Jim and Vicki.

I am feeling slightly better and replied.

Russ:)