Summary: If Isaiah needed to hear the message "Stay faithful to me", how much more us?
The call to stay faithful to God
Sometimes folks will ask me “What led to your being a Pastor?” The answer is this: When I was about 16 I sensed the Lord directing me towards being a Pastor. At that age I was of course thinking about what to do with my life. My first thought was to attend University and take a Business degree. However, God began to speak to me about going to Bible College and serving Him in full time church ministry. I prayed about and as time progressed God continued to open doors- and voila- here I am today by the grace of God.
READ Isaiah 6:1-8
Do you think this incredible calling and personal word from God was sufficient to carry Isaiah through his entire ministry? Or, do you think that Isaiah needed further words of encouragement and challenge from the Lord along the way?
Isaiah, like us, needed some further words of challenge and encouragement from the Lord.
In Isaiah 8:11-22 Isaiah gets what he needed. In this passage he receives a special word from the Lord regarding staying faithful and the blessings that come with this.
It’s so easy to wander from the Lord. Hence we need to be periodically reminded of how important and blessed it is to stay faithful to Him. READ TEXT
Isaiah has been faithfully serving the Lord for many years. At this point in time a wicked king named Ahaz is on the throne (He’s the third king Isaiah has ministered before. The other 2 were good kings). Recently Isaiah had gone to the king with what would have been interpreted as a good/bad message. The good part of the message of Isaiah- at least in the king’s mind- was that God was going to spare Judah from the present threat of being overrun. The bad part of the message of Isaiah- at least the king’s mind- was that judgment from another nation was coming.
As you might imagine, the pressure on Isaiah because of the times and the messages that he brought from God would have been great. To live faithfully in a time when hardly anyone else was would have been a real challenge.
God knew this and so to Isaiah he gave a special message. The message of Isaiah 8:11ff. A message exhorting faithfulness.
THE MESSAGE GOD GAVE TO ISAIAH
1. Do not follow the ways of the people around you v.11
Do not get entangled in the ways of this world. Go against the flow.
Here’s a message we desperately need to hear. Just as Lot was not immune to the culture of Sodom and Gomorrah, neither are we, neither was Isaiah.
How is it that the people around us are living?
-homosexuality, lying, stealing, witchcraft, the embrace of eastern religions and idol worship, adultery, pre marital sex, pornography, abortion, rudeness, pride, foul language, euthanasia pressures, the constant pollution of self through T.V, movies, radio, and print.
What’s God’s message to us? Do not imitate them. Do not join in with them. Do not read, watch, listen to, talk, condone, participate, in the filth that the people of this world do. We are to be holy as God is holy.
Note what 3 John 1:11 says “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”
Note what 1 Peter 4:1-5 says “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap
abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead”
2. Do not fear what the people of this world fear v.12
What is it that the people around us are afraid of?
Death, dying, various superstitions, news reports of possible wars, disaster, disease, suffering for doing what is right and good (note how Peter specifically mentions this in 1 Peter 3:14 as he quotes 8:12)
Why might Isaiah have struggled with fear?