Summary: This message explains what the 2 words "Smooth Things" from Isaiah 30:10 mean. And how they are pleasant to hear but dangerous upon further inspection and why we should avoid hearing them and repeating them.
The Danger of 'Smooth Things'
Scripture: Isaiah 30:10
Introduction: Wednesday I mentioned the story of Isaiah and his calling and I would like to revisit a particular scripture that reveals the attitude his time, because it isn't different from the times in which we live in today. In Isaiah 30:10 the people were in their comfort zone and they didn't want to leave it so this is how they were described:
Isaiah 30:10 – “They say to the seers, “see no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right!” tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.” (NIV) “which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:” (KJV)
There was a movie of Custer in the battle of little big horn, As things were looking grim one of his officers asked him: “should we retreat?” Custer said “Retreat? Heck No! We got 'em surrounded!” That is the attitude of some people today: They simply refuse to face reality. The same was true in Isaiah's time.
Transition: I would like to focus on just 2 words that the prophet said the people wanted to hear: “smooth things”. What are “smooth things?”
“Smooth things” are good things
“Good things” in that those things that make us feel good. Like chocolate tastes good but not good for you if that's all you eat. Or Pop that tastes good but if that is all you drink, it will cause problems. When the people were crying to hear “smooth things” they were really crying for Isaiah to tell them good things, whether it was true or not. In other words tell us good things are going to happen, tell us lies and convince us that it is the truth. This comes from a spirit that says “I want to do bad but I want to feel good about it.” What better way to feel good about it than to have a prophets permission? I once had a man tell me that if he were going to have an affair with a certain lady in the church, He would be sure to do it “God's way”. I wish I was joking but ya, that really happened. People still today no matter how far fetched it may seem still want to indulge in sin but want God's endorsement on it.
Today “smooth things” would be those smooth talking preachers that tell us that there is nothing but great things going to happen to us all the time. That nothing but health, wealth, and constant prosperity is in store for us forever. You will never suffer a fiery dart, a stormy trial, or unfortunate illness, and if you do, its because you didn't say the magic words or buy those 8 CD's on “How to live victoriously or successfully or abundantly or something along those lines”. Promising nothing but “good things” is promising nothing but “smooth things”. Jesus himself promised us trouble in John 16:33 and we would be hated in Mark 13:13 and we would be persecuted John 15:20. (it's not that there are NO good things in the word but to focus on them solely is “smooth things”)
Smooth things also come from those that spend all their time on scriptures that point to nothing but grace, but not a word about sin, repentance, regeneration, or endurance. They speak only of the cure but never about the disease. They focus only on faith or love but not a word about dedication, obedience, or sacrifice. (Reference: Hells Best Kept Secret: Ray Comfort) Other "smooth" talkers say there are hidden "bible codes". And there are many a false preacher that portray themselves as prince charming and portray God as some sort of fairy God mother, sent to give us whatever we want, whenever we want it. A genie in a bottle. Rub that bottle a certain way with positive words and bam! You'll have whatever you want. The Bible is not a lump of wax to be shaped at our will, and yet they hammer one subject all the way into the board and common sense should tell them there is no reason to keep hammering anymore. But all they know and love are those 'smooth things'.
Some preachers of “smooth things” are all style and no substance. Spurgeon said (paraphrasing) “It is a hideous gift to be able to say nothing at extreme length.... There are preachers who mistake perspiration for inspiration. They run around like a wild horse with a hornet in their ear until they have to catch their breath, are so repetitive that it's painful to listen to. They receive more pity for themselves than sympathy for their subject.” But they would argue, 'Well, I would rather hear the congregation shout than see them asleep', and I agree I'd rather hear shouting, laughter, or even crying, anything but snoring. But a sermon that would have you jumping all the way through it but have you wondering it's lesson was 10 minutes after it's over isn't worth preaching in the first place. Those that are starving for “smooth things” will only be satisfied from those men who offer them, but for those that are starving for substance they will go home hungry. Spiritual maturity isn't measured by how high you jump but how straight you walk once you come down. Smooth things are good things to hear but not much else.