Today’s passage is quite challenging but I could not avoid feeling that the message it contains is absolutely current. For me, this passage describes the kind of reality that many, who have no faith, are living right now in our society. It is their argument that really struck home to me: Are we little children, just recently weaned? He tells us everything over and over— one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” (Isaiah 27:9-10)
It is just the kind of thing I have heard proud atheists complain about. They are so caught up in their own sense of intellectual power and scientific might that they can not see the mess they are living in, or the filth that lies all around them. They are intoxicated both literally and spiritually. They think they have shown God to be a false idea from a by gone age. They are offended when people of faith continue to display the simple truths of God and they dismiss their beliefs as childish. They stumble around and are captured and injured because they have closed their eyes, hearts and very souls, to the simple place of rest that the Lord has offered to them. It is as if they have decided that Jesus’s salvation is only for the those who are not clever enough, or grown up enough, to deal with life’s harsh realities.
Isaiah 28:7-13 NLT
Now, however, Israel is led by drunks who reel with wine and stagger with alcohol. The priests and prophets stagger with alcohol and lose themselves in wine. They reel when they see visions and stagger as they render decisions. Their tables are covered with vomit; filth is everywhere. “Who does the Lord think we are?” they ask. “Why does he speak to us like this? Are we little children, just recently weaned? He tells us everything over and over— one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” So now God will have to speak to his people through foreign oppressors who speak a strange language! God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.” But they would not listen. So the Lord will spell out his message for them again, one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there, so that they will stumble and fall. They will be injured, trapped, and captured.
One of the reasons I feel uncomfortable about choosing this passage is the negative reference to alcohol and it’s widespread abuse right up to the level of Israel’s leadership. I must confess at this point that I am quite partial to a drop of whisky of an evening myself. However, although I am not exactly in danger of alcoholism, I am beginning to think I should drink a lot less than I do. My goal here is to understand that the drinking (along with many other habits) is a relic of my life before I came to faith. It is an old coping mechanism from the long years I lived without Jesus. Even though I have heard God and listened to him, I have yet to address all the messy corners in my life. There is still filth that need to be got rid of. I still haven’t quite accepted that God alone, and not a nice glass of Scotch, is the place of quiet rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Isaiah 25:1-27:13, Galatians 3:10-22, Psalms 61:1-8, Proverbs 23:17-18