“Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the Lord has poured out on you The spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I am not literate.” Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,”
Isaiah 29:9-13 NKJV
Hearts far from God
As I read the passage in Isaiah chapter twenty nine, I automatically found myself thinking of the moment when Jesus confronted the Pharisees, the religious authorities of the day. He came bringing the word of God, unvarnished and presented with the authority of the One who wrote it.
“He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ””
Matthew 15:3-9 NKJV
In a very real sense, we face the very same scenario today, as many who call themselves Christians go about teaching the traditions of men, rather than being faithful to the word of God. I have often written of the propensity of Christians to rely too much on books written by notable authors, thus ignoring the deep study for the Bible.
As a result, the American church has devolved into a social/political entity where there is little regard for the calling to go and spread the Gospel. We are focused on left or right wing politics, and care little about the Father’s business. I sometimes wonder if the average Christian in America would be more offended at the criticism of their party leader, than the using of the Lord’s name in vain.
We have neglected the Bible. Our hearts are far from God.
We are as blind people, stumbling about and being pushed by spiritual forces of which we have no comprehension, and having no mooring in the word. We say that we believe, but because we have largely ignored the word, we really do not know what we believe in.
The Scriptures are crucial, especially now.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
In these perilous times, there are many who run about proclaiming themselves to be preachers of the word, who are mere charletans, leading the biblically unwise to their doom. As the pressure of these times bears in on those in the world, it is crucial for the word, rightly taught to be advanced.
It is time to lay aside the celebrity preacher books, and turn to the Book.
Brothers and sisters, the world needs sincere Christians, who know the word of God and represent who Christ really is. Let us not be like those confronted by our Savior, people who had turned away from the word of God and the expectations within, to be governed by the traditions of the culture.
It is time to stand on the authority of Scripture, for even now there are those who have crept into the church seeking to sow their own flesh borne interpretations, seeking to cause shipwreck the saving message of the Gospel.
Paul warned the Ephesians with many tears of the dangers.
“For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
Acts 20:27-31 NKJV
As a result the Ephesians lost their first love, and a church that had been warned because one under dire caution.
““To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:”
Revelation 2:1 NKJV
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV
When one neglects the word of God, one is prone to forget the great things God has done. The Lord has given us His record and He has given is His Holy Spirit to bring it to our heart and minds.
Remembering the first love is what will get us through what is soon coming upon this world.
“Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord— Your salvation according to Your word. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances. So shall I keep Your law continually, Forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed.”
Psalms 119:41-46 NKJV
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