Summary: The church in 21st century America, at least, if not around the world today, is standing under a bulge in a high wall.
9 For this is a rebellious people, false sons, sons who refuse to listen to the instruction of the LORD; 10 who say to the seers, “You must not see visions”; And to the prophets, “You must not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions. 11 “Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” 12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Since you have rejected this word and have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, 13 Therefore this iniquity will be to you like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant,
I think it was Matthew Henry who said somewhere that preachers should also be writers, for it is the written word that will outlive the spoken.
Carrying on with that thought, another benefit of the written word is that those who are not willing to listen now may, if by God’s grace they survive their folly, come to a time and place in their life where they realize their need and come to the written word seeking wisdom.
Now that’s all pretty much common sense and I’ve not said anything new in it. I just wanted to point out that in verse 8 of Isaiah 30, when God told Isaiah, “…go, write it on a tablet before them and inscribe it on a scroll, that it may serve in the time to come as a witness forever”, His purpose may have been more than to document their rebellion as a testimony against them; it may also have been to give them something to read when they came to their senses that would cause repentance and call their hearts back to Him.
After all, we have these verses of accusation and prediction of doom before us, but let’s go into it knowing that in verse 18 the Lord reaffirms His love and His desire to lavish His grace upon them once more.
So whatever application we might make here to ourselves as individuals or the current condition of the church in America or to our country as a nation, let’s remember that behind it all is a God who desires repentance and renewal, not calamity and destruction. He may have to declare the coming of those things, but men bring them upon themselves.
Let’s look at the historical circumstances Isaiah is addressing here.
Historians place this portion of Isaiah’s writing, between chapters 13 through 32, in the Summer of 714 B.C. I’m not sure how they arrive at a specific season of the year, but I have not studied that history as in depth as those who write the books and I’m sure they have their documentation, and since it does not encroach upon some point of doctrine I am happy to defer to their knowledge on the subject and say it was Summer. If you secretly want it to be Spring or Winter or Fall, you may hold that opinion and I won’t chastise you for it.
So it would be about 8 years after the fall of the Northern Kingdom and its capital city, Samaria, to the Assyrians.
Now Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is threatened and in the beginning of chapter 30 God pronounces woes against Jerusalem’s leaders for sending emissaries down to Egypt in search of help against imminent attack instead of trusting in Him.
They are facing God’s judgment against them for the sin of blatant and prolonged idolatry and unbelief and instead of repenting and turning to Him they are adding sin to their sin by going to Egypt for help. Hence the last line of verse 1, “In order to add sin to sin;”
This is a recurring theme throughout the history of God’s people. We see it repeated through the book of Judges. Their rebellion, then God’s retribution, finally their repentance and His rescue. Then as they settle into their comfort zone and begin to be once more drawn away by the world and the flesh they are soon in rebellion again.
His complaint against them over and over again is that they will not listen to Him, and so it is here in these chapters of Isaiah, and specifically here in chapter 30 verse 9.
Notice that He calls them ‘false sons’.
Now I don’t want to try to make some doctrinal statement from this and imply that the application for us is that if we’re rebellious and won’t listen to the Lord then we’re phonies and not really Christians.
Although, there is some truth in that as it reminds us of the declarations of John the Apostle in his first epistle saying that if we say we have fellowship with God and yet walk in darkness we lie, (1:6) and the one who practices sin is of the devil (3:8) and so forth.