Isaiah 48 has the prophet revealing the heart of God’s people. We are people who “swear by the name of the Lord and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right”. We try and talk the talk but we don’t walk the walk. We look like godly people on the outside, and speak the right words, but unfortunately our heart is not aligned with God. He will reveal us. Our image will not translate to reality and put us in right standing with Him. “Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them”.
We are a stubborn people, all of us. We want to be in control and struggle to let God have His way in us. But we will stand before Him without excuse. That’s where Judah was as Isaiah preaches to them. They knew the greatness and power of God but still wanted to do their own thing. Cry out when in trouble, but otherwise go about life ignoring God’s presence and power. “You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it”? They were all about taking credit for everything and living life as they wanted. Sounds a lot like most of us today too. We live in rebellion to what is obvious and true – that God alone is in control!
God has every reason to just wipe the people of Judah then, and us today. We’re disobedient, ungrateful, self-centered, and a host of other things. But God is motivated by love. His nature is restoration and reconciliation. He wants to save us from ourselves. “Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there”. God’s been clear all along. He’s been there from the beginning and wants to be our Savior and Lord. His ask is that we come to Him. We have to take a step – He doesn’t force us into relationship.
When we do that, when we move toward God and allow Him to be God, His promise is amazing. “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me”. Obedience will yield amazing blessing. Not just good stuff but overwhelming, overflowing blessing. God wants that for His people Judah then, and for us today. Obedience matters – we need to walk faithfully with Him!