Sunday, December 27, 2009


Isaiah 30:9-11 (ESV)
"They are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, "Do not see" and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel."

My son Aiden has really strong feelings about what he can do, independent of my wife or me. And for some strange reason, he thinks his accomplishments are more significant if we don't see the process. So often I will walk into a room where he is working, or playing, or drawing and he will shout out "don't come in here Dad!" Evidently he's in the midst of something really important ( e.g. putting on his shoes, arranging the letters on the fridge into words, or just sneaking around), and he wants that to go unnoticed. He often says "Don't SEE me, Dad!"

My daughter Catherine loves her daddy, but she can't stand his beard. And while some people are the shave everyday type, that is not me. I like to actually see the stubble I am shaving off. So I will go a day or two between shavings, which means I never get razor burn! But for Catherine, that drives her crazy. Every time I kiss her goodnight or goodbye, whether on the cheek or the forehead or even the top of her head, she always says the same thing: "Dad, your beard is TOO rough!" No matter how lightly I kiss her, her reaction is always the same. That's why I make it a point to let her feel my cheek right after I have shaved. For that half of the day, she will come up and rub it and say, "That's so smooth Dad." I might even get a kiss from her.

Here in Isaiah 30, I find the people of Judah saying the same kind of things that my children often say, only they are much more childish than Aiden or Catherine. They are basically telling God's messengers "Don't see us!" and "Tell us only smooth things." They are not at all interested in what God has to say, they want nothing to do with Him, and only to escape from the consequences of their disobedience. That is a sad example of not only what happened back then, but also of what is very popular today: A smooth, easy religion that is never too rough or unpleasant, where somehow an all seeing, omniscient God doesn't see the evil things we do or think or say.

You will hear this idea touted all around the world, whether broadcast on Oprah or printed in the editorial room of any major newspaper or magazine. You will find it in any church that has put aside, or softened the message of Jesus Christ, in order to make it more paletable for the masses. This religion teaches that God never punishes or rebukes or even cares about our wrongs and only exists to help us live more fulfilled lives. It tells us that all dogs, or at least people, go to Heaven, that there is no Hell, that every religion is the same, and that the 10 commandments were just suggestions. It preaches that Jesus was a good man, just like Buddha, Muhammad and ourselves. There is certainly no room for the cross or even any kind of self-denial or sacrifice.

This tendency to worship what is smooth and easy may be the number one enemy of our souls in America. So often we really think this way. So often we are under the delusion that God somehow doesn't see our sin. But we are wrong.

The truth is that God "knows our deeds." (Rev. 3:15) Nothing is hidden from Him, not a single thought, motivation, attitude, word, or action. There is no place where we can hide from Him.

The truth is, God's true message will never be popular with the majority. Jesus Himself said: wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Mt. 7:13-14)

Do I really believe this? Am I okay with not being in the majority opinion? Am I okay that for most people in the world, and even sometimes for believers, God's word is "rough?" It often confronts us with the last thing we want to hear- the truth. May we never settle for anything less.

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