Keep On, Keeping On
Chris' Corner - Sunday, August 23, 2020
After the angel purified Isaiah’s lips to prepare the prophet to speak the holy message of God, the Lord, said, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then Isaiah said, "Here am I! Send me."
The words that follow make us wonder how Isaiah must have felt when he heard how hard his volunteer work was going to be. God’s said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' "Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10).
The point was this. The more Isaiah preached the more distant the people’s hearts would became. The more intense the message, the more they resisted, shut their eyes and stopped up their ears so they wouldn’t hear the truth.
When we read the early chapters of Isaiah, we get the idea the prophet did know what he was getting into, but how hard it must have been! The message he preached was not pleasant. Generally speaking, he received no appreciation or support from his contemporaries. Upfront, the Lord told Isaiah he would not be very successful. This must have been extremely difficult for him.
The only light at the end of the tunnel was the promise of a few who would listen and be saved. “The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. But yet a tenth will be in it, and will return and be for consuming, As a terebinth tree or as an oak, Whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump" (Isaiah 6:12,13).
How eager would we be if we knew from the start that our work for the Lord and His kingdom would not be a great success? Unfortunately, this is exactly what we can expect.
Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Did you catch that? Few will find (or accept) the way of salvation.
From the days of Noah, God has been consistent in saving those who truly believe and are obedient to His will. Peter wrote about the “Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1 Peter 3:20). At least in Isaiah’s time God rounded off the number of those saved to one tenth. In the flood, the entire population of the world was judged unworthy, with the exception of Noah and his family. He preached, but no one listened (2 Peter 2:5).
This is a vital lesson for us today. God expects all Christians to volunteer in His service. We must keep teaching the way of salvation no matter if the responses are favorable or not. We already know large numbers are not going to listen to God’s message of salvation. However, there will be some. So we keep preaching and teaching. We will be rewarded with the addition of some into the kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). But no matter if people listen or not, we must refuse to become discouraged. If we think of Noah and Isaiah it will be easier to press on!