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Who Do You Listen To ?

God Speaks to His People – Isaiah 44:1-28

Most of us have never heard “the Voice of God” audibly but we have heard ‘the Word of God” via those called to speak on His behalf or simply by the reading of the Bible. Similarly, the Judean captives in Babylon probably never heard “the Voice of God”. However, Isaiah had prophetically spoken, “the Word of God” many years earlier repeatedly using the words “this is what the Lord says” (NIV). Isaiah’s repeated use of those words revealed that God had quite a bit to communicate to Judah prior to and during their period of captivity.

The message that God communicated via Isaiah in this passage of Scripture was essentially three-fold. First, God wanted His people to understand that He had chosen them for blessings despite their current predicament. Next, the messenger of God portrayed to the people the foolishness of others who resorted to idol worship. Lastly, Isaiah spoke of God’s forgiveness and redemption.

God using the names of Jacob and Israel reminds the people that He had chosen them. He speaks unto them that He had formed them in the womb and as a result, He would be their help and there would be no need to fear. God notes that He would provide water upon their dry grounds and that His Spirit would be poured out upon their children and successive generations. As recipients of God’s blessings, their descendants would readily identify themselves as belonging to the Lord and would honor His Name.

God constantly speaks to humanity via various means. Often today we only associate God speaking via ministers or the reading of the Bible. Yet with many never attending church to hear God’s Word or taking the time to read and understand the Scripture, God will allow circumstances or other calamities to serve as means to draw one’s attention unto Him. Even now as we witness a pandemic that is causing widespread sickness and death our society would be wise to recognize that despite all our intelligence, technology, and ingenuity we are helpless without the Almighty Creator.

Living in captivity in a foreign land the God’s chosen people undoubtedly witnessed the practice of idolatry, notwithstanding their own previous indulgence with the worship of idols. The Word of God spoken by Isaiah painted a picture of various craftsmen fabricating graven images with earthly materials. The picture shows that men shaped iron and wood into images to be worshipped, yet at the same time used the iron and wood as elements to cook and warm oneself with. How is it that the materials consumed to enhance one’s survival can also be worshipped as gods? God declared that worship centered in consumable materials is foolishness.

The materialism that is present in our world today speaks to an idolatry that is prevalent throughout. When ones’ interest is predominantly focused on what he/she can do and obtain, then oneself or the acquisition of materiel objects has become the center of worship. As God stated to the Judeans during their Babylonian captivity, it is still foolishness to center ones’ value in human achievements and materiel objects which have no lasting value, and which will ultimately perish.

Lastly, God called out to His people to remember that they were His servants and that they would not be forgotten by Him. God spoke to them that their transgressions had been blotted out and their sins removed (past tense is used). As their Redeemer, He directs them to return unto Him and to shout joyfully for what He has done for them. The omnipotence of God is cited in the fact that He 1) was the maker of all things, 2) did not need the assistance of any other being, and 3) possessed the ability to cause the boasters, diviners and wise men to fail in their self-directed activities. Certainly, with God’s omnipotence and His selection of Judah as belonging to Him the city of Jerusalem would be restored from its ruinous state and the foundation of the Temple laid once again.

Despite numerous catastrophic reports we hear via the media and various social platforms, there is “good news.” Just as God promised those Judean captives deliverance and restoration of their nation and Temple, there is yet hope for our society and every individual. The hope for our society is found in God’s promise of a new earth which will be free of sinfulness and the calamitous ruin (including diseases and death) that accompanies it. However, for an individual to enjoy life in that new and blessed society, an affirmative decision regarding Jesus Christ must be made for his/her entrance into such a glorious state. Via the sacrificial death of Jesus, God has provided an avenue of both forgiveness of sin and salvation for those who would accept it. John 3:16 plainly teaches that anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will not perish but have eternal life.

Today, we as believers may not envision ourselves as captives, but we are to consider ourselves as warriors engaged in a prolonged warfare against evil and as pilgrims looking for a better country. As we witness a society greatly involved in the worship of oneself or man-made objects, let us keep our focus on the Almighty Creator and constantly be tuned-in to His declarations. Many of God’s promises have already been fulfilled and others will be realized in the future, perhaps sooner than what one may envision.

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