Summary: We can be set adrift amid a sea of relativism by our own choice, or be anchored in the Truth. God will be for us either a stepping stone or stumbling block...either our hiding place or a bolder blocking our way.
Where do you get your news? From TV, radio, newspapers, the internet, your telephone? Where do you get truth? According to Isaiah, a lot of people would rather believe fanciful theories than facts. More and more people make their own truth. Isaiah cautions us not to believe everything we hear; what sounds like conspiracy isn’t. A recent sociological study finds that people who follow conspiracy theories are insecure; they feel special by what they deem hidden knowledge, which are mostly unfounded explanations of what is really going on. That’s the point of verse 12. How do we explain what life is all about? What's our source of wisdom? There are many conflicting worldviews. Some people prefer exotic explanations. In an age of arbitrary values, we need to seek and follow the truth.
Everyone has a worldview, whether they realize it or not. They’ve constructed a set of beliefs by which they understand life. They have a view of God, or of no God. They have a view of self, some concept of the meaning of life, and a set of values. These are either based on personal preferences or divine revelation. People use their values to justify their decisions; beliefs determine behavior. Many people rely on luck, fate, superstition, or intellectual options that lead to self-trust and ultimately despair, as they see the failure of human thinking to offer purpose and satisfying answers.
In context, the “conspiracies” Isaiah refers to may involve Israel seeking alliances with and foreign aid from pagan nations (which sounds like a sheep getting a loan from a wolf)…and rumors of war with the Northern Kingdom. The lesson is that we ought not accept at face value all the rumors we hear. Let’s consider the source and appraise every political and personal opinion by whether it is right, not popular.
How does Isaiah respond to these concerns of the people? He refers to those with little faith and calmly says, “Do not fear what they fear.” All around us people fear the future--they worry about money, their health they have great anxiety over world events, and yet the most often repeated directive in Scripture (114 times) is two simple words: “fear not”. God can take us from fear to faith. It’s been said, “Fear knocked on the door…Faith opened it; and no one was there.” If we’re trusting the One who holds the last minute, we need not fear the next minute. C.S. Lewis observed, “Though there is much to be puzzled about, there is nothing to be worried about.” We have nothing to fear when we embrace God’s truth.
Isaiah warns us not to replace God with competing ideologies—verse 13. Faith needs to remain our steering wheel. If we’re not discerning, we may highly regard views that replace God in critical thinking. We may “hallow” secular thinkers, yet God is the only One who is truly holy, which is a comfort in our uncertain, often fearful world. There are many competing philosophies in our world, and many dangerous ideas. Think of the people who’ve influenced you the most. They could be authors, teachers, friends…are they trusted people of faith?