It is much easier to bring messages that sound cute and fluffy. Everybody likes to hear them and they make you popular. But, if one takes the written Word in its entirety and if one listens to the things Jesus taught, it soon becomes clear that God is not interested in tickling our ears. He has no desire to be popular. He is the Truth. He tells the truth. He doesn’t mislead people into thinking they are okay when they are not. A doctor who desires to keep a patient happy while hiding the truth of his disease from him, can hardly be called a doctor who cares for the welfare of his patient. Yet, when God’s people speak the truth about the true condition of mankind, they are often hated for doing so. Isn’t that strange? We wouldn’t hate a medical doctor when he lays the facts on the table concerning our physical or mental health, but we resist being told the truth concerning our souls, which will live forever -either with God or apart from Him.
Isaiah was one of those people who had the unenviable task of telling stiffnecked “know-it-alls” the truth about their heart’s condition. The strangest thing for me when reading his words, is to whom these words were addressed. Especially in the beginning of his book, it soon becomes clear that God is not addressing godless heathens, but those who call themselves His children.
In Isaiah 1:28-31, he speaks about the outcome of those who rejected God’s way of making men righteous and instead designed their own form of righteousness. Those who rejected God’s offering of righteousness and sought to seek their own form of righteousness. will be broken and perish. They are the ones about whom Paul writes in Romans 10:3, “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” In other words, they placed their own ideas above that of God. They came up with their own form of “salvation” and rejected God’s offer of salvation. They have forsaken God and His Way of saving (which is Jesus –see John 14:6). They designed their own way – a way that suits them better –forming a god to their own liking. They have lifted themselves up above the Most High. They either add to the Gospel of salvation or they take away from it.
But there will come a day in which they will be ashamed of the very things they now embrace. The religious rituals they delight in and boast about now will be their greatest embarrassment. The prosperity (the gardens) they chose will be a disgrace to them. They will become unsightly (an oak with fading leaves and a garden without water). The mighty man (in the eyes of others) will become tinder for the fire and what he has done will provide the spark, therefore his own deeds will consume him and he will be mighty no more. The fire that these deeds will bring upon him will not be quenched. It will be an eternal fire. We are deluding ourselves if we think we can impress God with good deeds and religious titles. It is a very costly form of deception to think that God is applauding us simply because people think highly of us. This does not mean, of course, that being popular is equal to condemnation. But what I am trying to say is that God makes up His own mind concerning us. He is not swayed by popular opinion. We would do well if we are continuously seeking His face to find out what He thinks.
My personal belief is that God gives these warnings in Scripture to encourage all people to turn to Him and to repent of their ways and to seek Him while He may still be found. There is mercy still available today. He is ready to forgive and plentuous in mercy. Therefore, I believe we can read these warnings as indications of His love for people, for just as a doctor would warn a patient about the danger he is in because of his disease, likewise God is issuing warnings to save us from all forms of destruction.
28. But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish.
29. You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.
30. You will be like an oak with fading leaves; like a garden without water.
31. The mighty man will become tinder and his work a spark; both will burn together, with no one to quench the fire.
- Christ Our Righteousness (anointedplace.wordpress.com)