Isaiah 8:1-22; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7; Psalms 55:12-23; Proverbs 15:27-28
OT: “For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: Do not call everything a conspiracy that these people say is a conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the Lord of Armies as holy. Only he should be feared; only he should be held in awe. He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, he will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many will stumble over these; they will fall and be broken; they will be snared and captured.” (Isaiah 8:11-15 CSB)
In chapter 8 of Isaiah, the Lord listed out several things that He had against the people of Judah. One of the things that the Lord had against Judah was that they were trusting in the popular opinions of the day instead of trusting in the Lord. Apparently, there were popular conspiracy theories that the people of Judah were believing instead of believing the word, will and ways of the Lord. So the Lord warned Isaiah to not fall prey to the same conspiracy theories as the rest of the people, nor be drawn into fear the way the people of the land were. The Lord told Isaiah that the only thing he should fear is the Lord and Him alone. Isaiah was to hold the Lord in awe and trust in Him. Because the people chose to be led into baseless fears and trust conspiracy theories instead of the Lord, their rejection of the Lord would become a stumbling block and their acceptance of conspiracies would become a trap.
I have read the book of Isaiah many times over the years, but this is the first time that this section of Isaiah stood out to me. It stood out to be because of the year that 2020 was and the state that many believers have allowed themselves to be led into. Throughout 2020 and even into 2021, scores and scores of Christians have allowed themselves to be led away from the word, will and ways of the Lord by baseless fears and conspiracy theories. If I have seen it once, I have seen it a thousand times: believers behaving badly on social media and running the character of Christ through the wringer. As a fellow believer, it has been embarrassing – and their acceptance of fears and conspiracy theories over the word and ways of the Lord has led them into a trap. The only way that they will be released from the snare they have fallen into is through profound humility and total repentance. There are plenty of conspiracies out there at any given time that can be tempting to believe. The way that we safeguard ourselves from falling into their traps is by fearing the Lord and Him alone. As we fear the Lord and trust in His wisdom and leadership. He will lead us through all the pitfalls of the culture and keep us safe from embarrassment and harm.
Psalms: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalms 55:22 CSB)
During Absalom’s rebellion against David, it wasn’t merely challenging for David because his son had risen against him. What was probably more challenging was that one of his close friends and advisors had betrayed him. As emotional and infuriating as that was, if David allowed himself to be overcome with anger and sadness, he wouldn’t be able to lead the nation out of the current calamity. So instead of dwelling in the hurt, David cast his burden on the Lord and trusted God to sustain him.
I know for many believers over the past year and a half, as they have stood for righteousness and have refused to get swept up in all the fears and conspiracy theories of the times, they have been accused with numerous charges by people they once considered friends. Sometimes standing for righteousness and following the ways of the Lord will bring rejection and pain. It is definitely not enjoyable and at some level can be quite torturous. If we dwell in the disappointment, sadness, and rejection, we will be rendered ineffective. While it is good to grieve loss – in the midst of the grieving, we need to cast our burdens on the Lord. The Apostle Peter gave the same advice as David in 1 Peter 5:6-9. In fact he went a little further than David by saying that the Devil will use those cares to devour us if we don’t make the decision to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and cast our cares on Him. The Lord can be trusted, and the Lord will sustain us, not allowing us to be shaken by the rejection and accusations that come our way because of our stand for righteousness and the word, will and ways of the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, there are so many theories flying around. It can be so easy to fall prey to the fear that they generate and get my eyes off of You. But I thank You that I can always trust you to lead me through the pitfalls of the day and sustained me when the going gets rough and painful. I choose to trust You and place my fear in You and You alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.