8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them,
inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come
it may be an everlasting witness.
9 These are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.
10 They say to the seers,
“See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
“Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
11 Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!”
The Hard Truth
What wonderful words from Isaiah, a people refusing to hear truth, who just want illusions instead. But of course, this is Isaiah speaking for them – they would never say it this way, but would find some more oblique way to reject the truth. Because the OT type of prophet no longer exists, we might feel like this passage is a little distant from us, but I think it is incredibly relevant to us now…
When we go to church and hear from God’s word, there is this expectation that we get that it should always be positive, encouraging, up-lifting. It should make us laugh, be palatable for everyone from every socio-political background, and generally make us feel good about ourselves. And doubtless that the gospel in its purest form is the message of eternal joy, and will be overwhelming encouraging and positive.
But if every message is sugary and upbeat, we must be missing something, because the Kingdom that Jesus reveals in the gospels is revolutionary, and difficult, and counter-cultural. In its very nature, it must make us at times uncomfortable and ill at ease because it is so contrary to the world and its ways. And so if we find ourselves in a season, either personally or corporately, where the gospel no longer challenges and surprises us, then we have to ask whose gospel are we really preaching, Jesus’, or our own?
1. What are some of the teachings of Christ that you find most difficult?
2. What are some of the beliefs of Christianity that are the most counter-cultural in your opinion?
3. What does it look like to remain faithful to these, without becoming like the Pharisees, elevating ideas above people?