Monday, April 3, 2017

The Woe of Ariel (Part IV)

"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?" (Isaiah 29:13-16)

The opening verse is applied to both Isaiah's audience and the Pharisees of Jesus' day. The foundational principles of scriptural prophecy never change; therefore, they may be applied at any point in time. With this in mind, Jesus said to His audience ...

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (15:7-9).

The Jews of Isaiah's day were not unlike most religious people who make mention of God and give him some honor with the mouth, but the Scriptures are not their authority.

The Lord would see to it that Israel's counselors gave foolish advice. Their constant push for an alliance with Egypt and other heathen nations would be their demise. Man can be incredibly foolish. The ungodly mind is capable of thinking that God cannot see certain works. As long as the a show of godliness and goodwill is made, the people of Judah believed that no one, not even God, would know the difference. Thousands of false teachers behave the same way today. They have convinced themselves that their secret sins are hidden from both God and man. However, all evil is eventually exposed. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14)."

The phrase your turning of things upside down literally means your perversity. God would take Judah's perverse situation and the consequences of it and use it all to form her and to mold her. While Isaiah's audience was busy making alliances and plans apart from God, they did not realize that they were as helpless as clay pots in the hands of the potter. Jeremiah gave a similar illustration.

Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel (Jeremiah 18:3-6).

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