11” For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.” (Isaiah 8:11-15)
The primary sin by the Nations of Israel and Judah was a refusal to trust in, commit to, depend upon and worship the LORD God alone. They preferred, except for a small remnant, to trust, commit, depend and worship objects of their own device and design. In Isaiah 8:11, the LORD instructed Isaiah not to walk in the pattern of life of the people.
There has always been a trend among so-called leaders of either ancient Israel, or the contemporary church, to cater their message and ministry in light of what the people, or congregation, want and desire. Today, it is what is known and referred to as being culturally relevant. It is being like the people and giving the people what they want. It is telling the people what they want to hear and refusing to tell the people what they need to hear. It is framing a philosophy of ministry that will not offend. In others words, it is a philosophy of ministry void of the truth.
Yahweh warned Isaiah not to cater to the people’s whims and wants. He said, “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.” The majority of people in Israel and Judah considered the prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah and others to be the enemy because they preached against alliances with foreign powers and advocated a reliance upon the LORD alone. Isaiah was not to go along with various political conspiracy theories of the time. Neither was he to fear or reverence what they people feared and reverenced or tremble because of what the people might do to him.
Instead, Isaiah was to honor the LORD as holy and to fear and dread Him alone. As the prophet continued to do this, and the nations refused, the LORD would be a sanctuary for those who trusted in Him alone, while at the same time a stone of offense, a rock of stumbling along with being a trap and a snare for those who did not.
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “Isaiah found encouragement in the Lord as his holy place of protection from his accusers. The NT applies this verse to corporate Israel in her ongoing rejection of Jesus as Messiah (Luke 2:34; Rom. 9:32–33; 1 Pet. 2:8). Another prediction anticipated the stumbling of Israel, which included her rejection of her Messiah at his first advent (Luke 20:18; Rom. 9:32; cf. Isa. 28:16).”
It is easy to follow the crowd and capitulate either politically, economically, culturally or spiritually to their whims and ways. The believer in Christ must never do this, even when tempted to do so by many within the church. We must honor the LORD alone as holy and He alone we must fear and dread. We must never fear and dread people.
May we all resolve to follow the LORD’s direction this day.
Soli deo Gloria!