Scripture: Isaiah 8-10, Hebrews 8
Isaiah 8:11-13 With his great power the Lord warned me not to follow the path which the people were following. He said, “Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. Remember that I, the Lord Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear.
Judah was afraid of the Syrian/Israel alliance, and sought help from Assyria, which was the larger threat. They didn’t seek the Lord, but sought help from men. God spoke to Isaiah, warning him not to go down that path. Rather than conforming to the social norms around him, he was to be different. Rather than fearing any man, he was to fear the Lord.
This jumped out at me. Don’t follow the path the people are taking. Our culture continues to move farther away from God—as does every culture. We’re not to love “the world,” meaning human systems apart from God. Without God, all our human system go awry. Every culture moves away from God, which is why Jesus’ followers are countercultural no matter where they live. We aren’t going down the same path.
Of course, being different can get you in trouble. So God tells Isaiah not to be afraid of people’s threats. The only one we should fear is God Himself. This reminds me of the words of Jesus in:
Luke 12:4–5 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
Fear God and you don’t need to fear any man. Don’t follow the crowd, follow the Lord. And when they threaten or reject you, don’t be afraid. Peter quotes this passage from Isaiah:
1 Peter 3:14–16 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to follow you and not the crowd (our culture). Help me to fear You so that I fear no one else.