Today: [Isaiah 30] Learn to Limit Your Counselors: In Isaiah 30 Isaiah reproves the people of the city of Jerusalem for giving heed to wrong counselors. It was the common consensus at this time that Jerusalem needed to form an alliance with Egypt in order to avoid being invaded by Assyria. Isaiah in effect says it doesn’t matter if “everyone is saying it” this is the wrong course of action. Just because all those around you are in agreement about what you should do next doesn’t make them right. The promise of God through Isaiah is that His voice will be as one that speaks in your ear saying “this is the way walk you in it…” In times of pressure and confusion God’s voice is available telling us what we should do next and if we obey things will work our in our best interests.
[Isa 30:1-33 KJV] 1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3 Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt [your] confusion. 4 For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. 5 They were all ashamed of a people [that] could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach. 6 The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence [come] the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people [that] shall not profit [them]. 7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength [is] to sit still. 8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: 9 That this [is] a rebellious people, lying children, children [that] will not hear the law of the LORD: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
In this chapter the prophet Isaiah gives strong correction, and hope to the city of Jerusalem. He begins by upbraiding the people for seeking counsel but not of the Lord. In times of pressure in my life I have heard the Lord say to me “limit your counselors”. What does that mean? Doesn’t the bible say there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors? Let’s read the exact reference:
[Pro 15:22 KJV] 22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
Now in Isaiah’s day the general consensus of the people and the leaders of Jerusalem was to establish a treaty with Egypt to defend them against invasion. Isaiah reproves them in chapter 8 saying:
[Isa 8:12 KJV] 12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all [them to] whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
Notice what the verse says. The wise counselors are calling for a confederacy with Egypt but Isaiah tells the people that this counsel arises from fear in the heart of those advocating this course of action. In other words your counselors are only as good as the counsel they give. If they counsel you out of their opinion or their own judgments or shortcomings then listening to them will only lead to failure. If a counselor looks at your situation and thinks “boy if I was in that position, I’d be dead meat” then their counsel is worthless. Now it is unlikely that they will actually say “sorry my friend, if I was in your position I would have no faith to overcome…” No they have an ego and a reputation to uphold so they will go ahead and tell you what to do but their counsel will be of no value. Another instance of wrong counsel is when God tells you to do something that is above the faith level of your counselor. They are not going to tell you that you have more faith than you do. No, they are going to counsel you from the opinion that you are operating in presumption against God because their default conviction is that they have more faith than you do and if you are doing something beyond what they have faith for you couldn’t possibly be hearing from God.
One more instance – if you receive counsel ask yourself “do I want my life to look like this person’s life”. A counselor can only give you what they have experienced. Look at their life. No matter how much you love and respect them they cannot lead you beyond where they themselves have gone. Many times people will come and counsel Kitty and I but they haven’t been where we have been and they haven’t done what we have done. There are many people that will come around and say “let me tell you how to do this” and they have no experience whatsoever. They simply have an opinion. The person who is truly qualified to counsel you will not be sitting around offering their opinion. You will have to seek them out. You will have to catch up with them because they are busy out doing what the Father told them to do and will not be readily willing to meddle in your affairs.
11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. 12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. 14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water [withal] out of the pit. 15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. 16 But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. 17 One thousand [shall flee] at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill. 18 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD [is] a God of judgment: blessed [are] all they that wait for him. 19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
The people in Isaiah’s day did not receive his wisdom or the words of God. They were not saying to themselves “wow, we need to heed Isaiah because one day these words he is scribbling on parchment will be one of the 66 books of the bible…” No they despised his words. They were the ravings of a lunatic who went 3 years naked from the waist down just to make a point. 1 Thess. 5:7 tells us to despise not prophesying. Why? Aren’t the prophets often wrong? Don’t they see through a glass darkly? Haven’t we all from time to time rolled our eyes when someone said “I have a word for you”? Here is the danger: just as the promise contained in a word will come to pass when we believe – even so the exact opposite will take place when we despise the word. When we despise the prophetic it sets in motion an outcome exactly opposite to what the word promises. Then the despiser will wallow in their suffering and say “see I told you that prophesy was wrong!”. We need to learn from such things. We need to identify the prophets in our lives. We need also to learn how to validate a prophetic word according to the scripture so we know what is safe to ignore and what is necessary for us to give greater heed to.
20 And [though] the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 22 Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence. 23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. 24 The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. 25 And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers [and] streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound. 27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning [with] his anger, and the burden [thereof is] heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: 28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and [there shall be] a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing [them] to err. 29 Ye shall have a song, as in the night [when] a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. 30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of [his] anger, and [with] the flame of a devouring fire, [with] scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. 31 For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, [which] smote with a rod. 32 And [in] every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, [it] shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. 33 For Tophet [is] ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made [it] deep [and] large: the pile thereof [is] fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.
God’s intent is to give us the bread of heaven. If we refuse and rebel when He speaks the only other bread left to us is the bread of adversity. Yet in the midst of this the promise of the Father is that His voice would be a word in our ears saying “this is the way, walk you in it…” Even when we have lost our way, rejected the word of the Lord and stumbled from heeding the defective counsel or egotistical counselors, God’s voice will still be heard. When God promises “I will never leave you or forsake you…” He meant it. Others may look at you when you refuse to listen to them and declare that God has abandoned you nothing could be further from the truth. God’s purpose is not to make you dependent on the good opinion of others in order to succeed. The purpose of God is to establish inward reliance of the voice of God in your own heart. Others may look at you when you don’t follow their advice and think you are going the wrong way but learn to listen to the voice of God in your own heart and life. It is possible to confirm and validate what is God speaking to you and what is not. When you listen to Him and heed His counsel you will as verse 29 promises, have a song in the night and see the Assyrian, anti-Christ influence working against you brought to defeat before your face.
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