Isaiah 21 has several oracles from Isaiah of what is to come. He preaches about destruction and siege, about traitors and the ending of kingdoms. When people refuse to walk with God and make themselves the center of their own world, bad things happen. Bad choices are made and people fall away from God. When “I” is on the throne of my life, it doesn’t go well. And it ends even worse if that is not corrected. Isaiah paints a picture of how poorly it can end – “like the pangs of a woman in labor”. It isn’t pretty, but it is painful.
So what do we do to prevent letting self get on the throne and move us away from God? We need to guard our hearts. We need to “set a watchman, let him announce what he sees”. We have to watch those things that will lead us away from a right relationship with God. We need to watch for others that might lead us the wrong way. We need to pay attention to the world around us and the draw it has to walk away from God. We need to carefully and continually pay attention to the influences in our life.
It is often the people we associate with that can pull us away from God. They can’t make us choose to sin – we own that all by ourselves. But their influence can lead us to places where that choice is much easier, or where our defenses may not be ready to deal with the temptation. We have to always be on our guard. “Upon a watchtower I stand…..at my post I am stationed whole nights”. The enemy comes at us from all directions at all times. It isn’t predictable and not flashing warning lights go off. We just need to be alert.
Scripture tells us that we can win the battle with sin. Temptation does not have to get the best of us and draw us to a choice to disobey God and fall into a very bad spot. The enemy doesn’t give up, and will continue to pursue us. But at the end of the day, we have the opportunity to choose obedience rather than sin. We can make a choice to walk with God and live His way every time. We aren’t forced. The devil can’t make us do it. But we will fall unless we are diligent to walk with Jesus and keep our eyes focused on Him and His Word and Truth!