Thursday, May 27, 2010
Today’s Topic: On Whom Do You Depend?
Today’s Text: See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
Isaiah’s admonition from yesterday at the end of chapter two was to stop trusting people when we should trusting God alone. As chapter three begins he carries over that thought and describes for us the types of people we tend to trust. But before I expound on this, let me state clearly that I believe God has made us relational people and that we need to be in relationships with other people. That is foundational to the concept of church. However, our faith, trust, and hope are not to be placed in people, but in God alone. People may bring us happiness, but God alone is the source of our joy.
Unfortunately, many of us turn to our horizontal relationships with others as our best option when we get in trouble, when we need help, or when we need our ego stroked and our sense of value enhanced. We turn to our friends for comfort, support, and fun, which is not wrong unless those friends are our first option instead of Christ. This may sound harsh, but it is true – our relationships with people are actually dysfunctional if they are used as a substitute for our relationship with Jesus. It is sad but true – we tend to depend on people more than our Lord.
According to Isaiah, Jesus Christ will fight to maintain the priority position of our lives. When anyone or anything moves into competition with Him, He will move to eliminate it. We are in denial most of the time about the purpose of troubles and trials we are experiencing. They are most likely the hand of God moving against people and things we have allowed to compete for time and trust. That’s what Isaiah is about to show us in today’s Scripture passage.
Here’s the list of people and things that compete with God for our trust and relationships:
- Provisions and Possessions – The Lord is about to take away all the supply from His people. Remember what Jesus said? Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things you need will be supplied for you. (Matt. 6:33)
- Military Power – The hero and the warrior – the security we find in our freedoms will be attacked, because we are to find our peace in our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is our one and only Hero.
- Judges – Some of us trust in our justice system. We love going to court to get retribution or restitution. Justice is to be found only in the coming King, and we are to wait patiently for it.
- Prophets – So many people are following feel-good preachers today. They smile and squint and say anything that makes you feel good about who you are, while avoiding the issue of sin and its consequences. They fill you with false hope and temporary emotional comfort, but when the real trials of life come up they choke you. You must depend on the truth of God’s Word alone.
- Soothsayer – These are fortune tellers and psychics. The practice of such things is condemned throughout the Bible. It is our attempt to see more than what God wants to reveal, because we don’t really trust Him. It is not just a harmless pastime – it is an attempt to gratify some self-centered need for knowledge, security, or affirmation. It is contrary to dependence on God.
- Elder – This is simply a person with wisdom gained from years of experience. Some of us trust in our parents or grandparents way to much. Some have found other older and wiser people to be their “go-to” person. There is Biblical support for such mentoring, but not to the extent that some people do. Don’t let the wisdom of your elders become the source of your wisdom. What they say still has to be in line with what God has already said.
- People of Position and Honor – The Captain of fifty and the man of rank – I used to think it was really cool to talk about important people I had met. I discovered I was simply trying to hitchhike on their reputations to improve my own status. I was guilty of letting other people qualify me. Only Jesus Christ can do that.
- Counselors – Nothing hurtful intended here towards those who are counselors, but people have become far too dependent upon them. Sometimes…not always…but sometimes, I think that the counseling becomes a bondage that perpetuates the problem. In Christ there is deliverance and freedom.
- Skilled Craftsman – Many people depend on the quality and quantity of possessions. They are nice people because they have nice things. But who are they after a fire or an accident? Possessions cannot bring contentment, but Christ can.
- Clever Enchanters – King James Version says “Eloquent Orator”. Actually, according to the Hebrew, the two need to be combined. These are the Eloquent Enchanters of our day. I believe our country is being led by one of them. Many have put their hope and trust in Him. Don’t let clever communication corrupt you and turn you from Christ.
Isaiah has laid it out clearly – “Don’t trust in man or man’s things.” Now it’s up to you to decide how much of this connects with you and keeps you from connecting completely with Christ.