I was reading in Isaiah last night about King Ahaz, who eventually capitulated and trusted in a treaty with an ungodly nation rather than trusting in the God of Israel. The Lord was speaking this particular portion, however, to Isaiah himself:

“Indeed this is what the Lord told me. He took hold of me firmly and warned me not to act like these people: ‘Do not say, “‘Conspiracy,’” every time these people say the word. Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified. You must recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies. He is the one you must respect; he is the one you must fear. He will become a sanctuary, but a stone that makes a person trip, and a rock that makes one stumble – to the two houses of Israel. He will become a trap and a snare to the residents of Jerusalem. Many will stumble over the stone and the rock, and will fall and be seriously injured, and will be ensnared and captured’” (The NET Bible).

This may teach us a couple of things. One is a reminder for God’s people not to act like an unbelieving world does. And how is that? Don’t be afraid of what scares them. The Lord is in command, not them or the nations of the world. And please note that Isaiah said the Lord “took hold of me firmly,” which apparently means that He was making this point strongly to Isaiah. Christians, we are the only people who know the true and living God. I don’t say this to exclude anyone in an arrogant or exclusive way, because we know that we ourselves were once excluded from the life of God and He graciously brought us into His family, as He is willing to do with anyone who comes to Him. Nevertheless, we do know Him, by His grace. We should not walk in the ways of or act like those who do not know God. It doesn’t honor Him. It doesn’t honor the One who was slaughtered so we could be free.

Second, He will cause us to stumble if we do this. Yes, He will actually stick His spiritual foot out and trip us. No, not to cause us to stumble in order to make us sin. But when we start fearing what the world fears, we should be expecting that trip. Think: face plant in the rocks up ahead. We will be seriously injured, the Lord said. Sounds like some broken bones or a concussion, spiritually speaking. Then comes some kind of entrapment. This would mean we’re not free. We’ve been ensnared, and someone or something besides God is now our master. This makes sense. If we reject Him as Master, something or someone else take His place. It’s going to happen–because He loves us, yes, even when we forget who He is and that He is sovereign.