Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spiritual Blindness

“The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else.  Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized.  So I will startle them with one unexpected blow after another.  Those who are wise will turn out to be fools, and all their cleverness will be useless”.

 Those who try to hide their plans from the Lord are doomed! They carry out their schemes in secret and think no one will see them or know what they are doing.” Isaiah  29:13-15  GNT

The Israelites knew how to talk the spiritual talk, but their hearts were far from God. 

You cannot always tell a person’s heart by what they say. You cannot always tell a person’s heart by what they do.  Only God really knows the heart, the closest we can come is by looking at the whole of their life----not just what they say or do, and especially not only at how they act at church or among Christians.

Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).  This is true because people can draw near to God with their mouths and honor the Lord with their lips and their hearts can still be far from God.  Of course, their speech and actions will betray them at one time or another----but just maybe never at church!

This manner of talking the talk, but not having the heart, did not end in Isaiah’s day.   Jesus quoted this passage from Isaiah when He rebuked the religious leaders of His day for their hypocrisy (Matt. 15:7-9, Mark 7:6-7).  It did not end in Jesus’ day either!

How did their hearts get far from God?   God does not move away from His people; they removed their hearts from Him.

Their fear toward Him is taught by the commandment of men.  They hearts did not respond to God, but only to man.

Isaiah wrote, the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, because Jerusalem’s pride had led them into spiritual blindness, sleep, drunkenness, illiteracy and hypocrisy, God will destroy the wisdom of their wise men.  Their wise men promoted the pride that led to all these evils.

Isaiah calls this a marvelous work and a wonder, for God to reject the wisdom of man and to display His wisdom.  Paul was also amazed at the “wisdom” of man, and how it compared to the “foolishness” of God: “In His wisdom, He did not allow man to come to know Him through the wisdom of this world.  It pleased God to save men from the punishment of their sins through preaching the Good News.  This preaching sounds foolish.  The Jews are looking for something special to see. The Greek people are looking for the answer in wisdom.   But we preach that Christ died on a cross to save them from their sins.  These words are hard for the Jews to listen to. The Greek people think it is foolish.   Christ is the power and wisdom of God to those who are chosen to be saved from the punishment of sin for both Jews and Greeks.   God’s plan looked foolish to men, but it is wiser than the best plans of men. God’s plan which may look weak is stronger than the strongest plans of men”.

Who sees us?  In their false wisdom, the proud people of Israel thought they could hide their thoughts and deeds from the Lord.  They thought they could hide from the Lord, and that they had Him all figured out.   But the Lord has them all figured out and they really do not know God at all.

“They come and sit in front of you as My people, and listen to the words you say. But they do not do them.  With their mouth they speak of love, but their hearts are full of sinful desire”.    Ezek. 33:31 NLV

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