“Should not a people seek their God? Isa 8:19
by Steven Chan
- Through the prophet Isaiah, God warned His people to always seek God’s guidance and not adopt the wisdom and practice of the people of the world:-
a.) “For the Lordspoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people” (Isa 8:11)
“And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa 8:19-20)
i. The prophet Isaiah instructed the people of God to “seek their God” by going back to “the law and the testimony”. The latter refers to the Word of God revealed through His prophets to the people of God (Psa 19:7; Deut 6:17; Neh 9:34).
ii. The people of God are to be guided by the revealed Word of God and to also use the revealed Word of God to “test” whatever is spoken to them: “If they do not speak according to this word, it isbecause there isno light in them”.
iii. This requirement to “test” using God’s Word whatever is spoken to us is also reiterated in the New Testament:-
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world… We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1,6)
iv. The early Christians observed this divine instruction to “test” or examine/assess with the revealed written Word of God all that they are taught:
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find outwhether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed…” (Acts 17:11)
v. The test for whether it is from God or not, is not that a multitude of people loved the message and many are drawn to it: “They are of the world. Therefore they speak asof the world, and the world hears them” (1 John 4:5).
The people of the world will love to hear what is agreeable with them. Many will want to follow the wide and broad way but it will lead to destruction because it is not from God (Matt 7:14; John 14:6)
b.) Isaiah later explained why God’s wisdom or His ways are superior to the wisdom of the world:
i. “For My thoughts arenot your thoughts, nor areyour ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:8-9)
ii. So, the prophet Jeremiah declared: “O Lord, I know the way of man isnot in himself; it isnot in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jer 10:23)
iii. The New Testament also emphasized the superiority of God’s wisdom: “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor 1:25)
- Do we seek God and His wisdom only with regards to how one can be saved from sin? Or, are we to seek Him and His wisdom in how we are to conduct ourselves in all areas of our lives on earth?
a.) “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture isgiven by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:14-17)
b.) The God-inspired Word is designed by Him for our guidance so that we may be “complete” or “perfectly equipped” to do all that which is good. So, the Hebrew writer emphasized that we are to grow in our knowledge of the Word of God so that by its constant, regular or habitual use in our daily lives, our senses would be exercised or trained, such that we are competent to “discern good and evil” (Heb 5:12-14).
c.) The Psalmist meditated daily on God’s Word (Psa 1:2-3). In this manner the revealed word of God becomes a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Psa 119:105)
- We are exhorted to teach and admonish one another.
a.) But what is the source of our knowledge or wisdom for our “teaching and admonishing” one another?
i. Oftentimes, many rely on their own wisdom or their own experiences from the world to “teach and admonish” one another as they do not refer to God’s revealed wisdom in His Word in providing such guidance.
ii. Listen to the Psalmist: “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.” (Psa 119:97-99)
iii. God’s Word can make us wiser! It is the wisdom that is from above and not from below (James 3:13-18)
iv. So, the Bible exhorts us thus: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col 3:16)
We must allow God’s Word to be “overwhelmingly implanted” deep in our hearts and minds so that we receive His wisdom – and then we will be equipped to “teach and admonish” one another appropriately as intended by God
v. God expects those who are wise because they are equipped by His Word, to help resolve differences and conflicts between brethren: “I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?” (1 Cor 6:5)
Unfortunately, in many instances, some have resorted to their own worldly wisdom to try to resolve conflicts/differences between brethren.
Whatever happened to “thus saith the Lord” or “speaking as oracles of God” (1 Pet 4:11) when it comes to such matters? No wonder some do not see the relevance of the Scriptures to their lives; they do not apply the principles that are from God even though the Bible declared: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ (Mat 4:4)
- Brethren, we are to seek God in all areas of our lives: how to raise our children (Eph 6:1-4); how to conduct ourselves in our work place (Eph 6:5-9; 1 Pet 2:18-21); how to conduct ourselves in our marriage (Eph 5:22-33); how to manage our financial affairs (1 Tim 6:6-19), how to resolve differences with brethren (Matt 18:15-17); how to manage the anxieties of our lives (Matt 6:25-34;Phil 4:6) etc…
We are warned: “Do not be wise in your own opinion” or in our own mind or in your own conceit (Rom 12:16c).
Be wise with the wisdom of God (James 1:5). We ought to study diligently His Word (2 Tim 2:15) and pray earnestly for His wisdom to guide in all the good that we seek to do.
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