“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. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling.’ I will wait for the Lord,.. and I will hope in him. And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God?.. To the teaching and to the testimony!” Isaiah 8:11-14,17,19-20
God spoke to His prophet Isaiah with firmness and clarity: Be different from the people around you. Do not behave as they do, do not fret and complain as they do, do not be fearful as they are, due to low, horizontal thinking– a limited view of God’s higher purpose and the inability to untangle themselves from hypotheticals and preoccupation with temporal unknowns. God said look up as you fall down. Honor Me not yourself, exalt Me not your fears, contemplate My might not what might be, listen to My truth not others’ speculations. And know this, that your living this way will not be popular and might even be labeled as weird or rejected as repulsive. Because it is different, it will be maligned, misunderstood; it will trip up people in confusion or offense, wonderment or resistance, but I will be your sanctuary, your perfect peace, your high ground. (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; Ephesians 4:24; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 3:1-2,9-10)
A life hid with Christ is a life that is different from the world. Thinking, habits, vocabulary, social mores, motivations are different for us, or at least they should be. How distinctive am I? When I hear agitation over statements by “the other side,” snippy criticisms, haughty judgments, vicious suspicion, or wide-sweeping blame, how bravely do I inject calm, reason, a higher perspective? When others hand-wring in worry over the weather and political bickering and health and economic what-ifs, how can I lovingly show trust in God’s goodness, order, and faithfulness? When all around me is a constant chirp of “enlightened” opinion and sound-bites, and an incessant mutter of the latest scholar’s pontificating or elite star’s expertise, do I fly to the word and my God, do I take time in His sanctuary, will I offer His cup of the water of life? (John 7:38; Revelation 21:6)
Isaiah was bold to speak for God in a time when Israel was declining because he knew his God and was assured of His call, not the peoples’ receptivity. What he heard from God he spoke, where God led, we went, when God’s strong hand was on him, he went forth in divine gumption. When the Holy Spirit resides in us, He imparts the desire, the will, the strength to do the same; He clothes us with power from on high to be different, wholly His. (Isaiah 6:8-12; Luke 24:49)
Lord, take over my thinking and all my doing, that being grounded in You, I walk only in Your way.