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It is difficult for Americans to imagine what it is like to be overrun by an invading army. The last occurrence was during the Civil War (1861-65), when both the North and South were invaded. The most destructive attack on the civilian population was Sherman’s March to the Sea. Sherman’s ruin was terrible, but it was relatively minor compared to what the Assyrians did to God’s people in Israel. Children, civilians, and leaders were murdered indiscriminately. Everyone was at horrendous risk, it seems, except for some poor folks. Many voices would have been shouting at the inhabitants of Israel. These voices were coming from their leaders, friends, neighbors, and their own minds. What should they do? Pick up what they could carry and run? Hide? The bottom line is, they were almost totally out of control of their own lives. 

It is uncomfortable—distressing and grievous, depending on the magnitude of the circumstances—to be out of control. 

The Lord said to Isaiah that He was sending the Assyrians to sweep into the land because His people had rejected Him:

“Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered; give ear, all you far countries; strap on your armor and be shattered; strap on your armor and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us” (Isaiah 8:9–10).1

Does it seem strange that the Lord would tell God’s people that everything they do in their own strength will fail because God is with them? Yes, if the people to whom He is speaking had rejected Him. They had inquired “of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter” instead of inquiring of Him (Isaiah 8:19). God was going to execute His righteous and perfect judgment upon His own people no matter what they did to escape.

Because of this separation between Him and His people, the Lord told the prophet, “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: ‘Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread’” (Isaiah 8:11–13).

This was Isaiah’s response: “Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him” (Isaiah 8:16–17).

At the Lord’s command, Isaiah chose to filter out the fearful voices that were shouting in his ears and heart. The Lord was his only hope.

We have all seen the violent insurrection in various cities in the United States. The ferocity of this kind of anarchic rebellion has not been previously experienced in America. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that it is my opinion that these uprisings are manifestations of the slow removal of God’s restraining hand. The U.S. has chosen, as official policies, actions that are denials of His truths and commands. He is saying, “You have chosen sin and a belief in the gods of this world and denied Me. I am giving you over to that sinfulness. You will see what happens when your foolish hearts are darkened. I am giving you over to a debased mind.”

The voices we hear from everywhere are shouting in our ears. What should we do? Should we run? Hide? However, like Isaiah, we must not fear what they fear. We must not be in dread. We must fear the Lord alone and be in dread of Him. We will hold fast to this testimony. We will wait for Him and hope in Him.

When Habakkuk knew the Babylonians were coming to bring God’s judgment on Judah, he took up the testimony of Isaiah declaring,

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:17–19).

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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