8Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a scroll, that it may be for time to come, forever and ever: 9That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; 10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 11 Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.”
I read this passage in the past and had heard it mentioned in one of Pastor David Wilkerson’s sermons, either Whatever Happened to Repentance Preaching (26 November 2006) or The Great and Final Apostasy (20 August 2006). Both of these sermons should be listened to, given the poor watered-down sermons that take place in too many, but not all, pulpits across the country and even in other parts of the world.
In these three verses, God instructed Isaiah to go and preach to the people concerning their sin of rebellion against God. It must have been hard enough to preach this warning to the people let alone write it on a tablet, such as were the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from the mountain that were written by the finger of God (Exodus 31:8).
A rebellion is a revolt or open resistance to authority, or an avowed renunciation of authority. There are numerous examples in the Bible of people who rebelled against God and these examples are provided to us so that we may avoid the consequences of those who openly rejected God.
The example here in the book of Isaiah is no different from what we see today, so this just isn’t about the people of Israel in the Old Testament who rebelled against God.
We live in a society that is rebellious toward government, the military and rebellious to the law through subversive acts of fraud, deceit and greed. There is a rebellion against morality where what has long been considered immoral, such as homosexuality, is strongly contested to be accepted as a moral behavior. There is a rebellion against monogamy where debauchery of all kinds pervades the lives of promiscuous young teenagers in high school and college. There is a rebellion against marital fidelity where some husbands and wives abandon their marriage for selfish and immature reasons that will not be considered acceptable to God on their day of judgment.
So here we have the prophet Isaiah, communicating God’s displeasure to rebellious children who have lied and refuse to hear His law preached before them.
The Hebrew word for children in verse 9 is bên בּן (pronounced bane) and this word can reference not only children in a family, but used more broadly, refers to a subject, nation, quality or condition of people.
Is it not true that we see in today’s society, a condition of people that refuses to hear the law of the LORD because they would rather submit to their own way of living rather than the commandments found in God’s Holy Word? They not only refuse to keep the Sabbath day holy, but also refuse to hear someone preaching the Bible on the street in public places.
Why was there a refusal to hear God’s law? The answer is found in verse 12 and it is because they despised hearing it and this was justification for God’s judgment upon a rebellious people.
The fear people should have of their own souls, to defy the living God and rejecting His Holy Word to live by!
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; (Hebrews 3:12, NKJV).
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31, NKJV).
Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. (Jeremiah 7:25-26, KJV, emphasis mine).
“But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, and commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy!’ (Amos 2:12, NKJV).
The apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, encouraged him to continue preaching the Gospel to people without compromise. He had advised him that people would be seeking to hear something other than the truth of the Gospel, something more palatable to their lives that would be more appealing to them. And if they were not able to persuade someone to speak what would be pleasing to their ears, they would find someone who would.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, KJV).
Just as death can come quickly and unexpectedly, so will the execution of God’s judgment upon those who have rejected and rebelled against Him.
Verse 13 says, “Therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach ready to fall, a bulge in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.”
The consequences for sin will suddenly ensue upon anyone like a balloon stretched beyond its capacity to contain the air that is filling it, expanding to a point where it will suddenly burst. Such is our own lives that continue to reject the Word of God and live in rebellion to His grace, mercy and love.
How can people not expect God’s judgment upon them for continually rejecting Him, rebelling against Him, when He has warned us like a father of the consequences for walking on a path that is not good for us?
Even the worst rebel who has sinned against God is worthy of His mercy and forgiveness and He is ready to forgive those who come to Him with a repentant heart.
To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. (Daniel 9:9, NKJV)
They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them. But they hardened their necks, and in their rebellion they appointed a leader to return to their bondage. But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them. (Nehemiah 9:17, NKJV)
Jesus said, “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) and tragically, society rejects and ignores the gospel.
The greatest gift one receives for repenting and believing in the gospel is the forgiveness of their sins and eternity in paradise, just as Jesus promised the thief who hung on the cross next to him (Luke 23:43).
Their salvation becomes justified by faith through the LORD Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) while a rejection of the gospel, unbelief in the Son of God results not with life, but death where the wrath of God abides upon them (John 3:36).
Should not God’s grace and mercy be desired more than a casual acceptance of His wrath for the selfishness to live in rebellion against Him?
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:14-15, NKJV.
Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23, NKJV.
Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.