Rick Gregory, Writer

Translating Messages From Heads To Hearts

I Think I Might Hate Isaiah 58 . . . Have You Read It Lately?

Actually, I both love and hate Isaiah, chapter 58. It calls people who pretend to be Christians to full and complete accountability. In essence says, “So you call yourselves Mine, and yet you act like you’re the ones in charge of your lives. You actually think you’re honoring Me by doing things you call religious; going to temple (church?), fasting, and ‘giving up things for Lent?’ You want to look all pious and holy, but your lives speak a different story. While you’re sitting listening to the Sunday sermon, you’re continuing to oppress the vulnerable by demanding goods and services that are produced by companies and organizations that enslave and exploit poor workers. You’re already planning where to go for your Sunday brunch that serves free mimosas. [I might have taken a bit of creative liberty here] It’s all for you. You’re blind to the poor, hungry, and naked ones around you. You think (at least you act like) the world AND I exist to meet your needs and fulfill your desires.” Wow!

God’s People then and now

Harsh, right? But how is it not true? When I stop to ponder, I realize that this account, written over 2,700 years ago to describe “God’s people” of antiquity still accurately portrays us (me!) today! I keep being reminded that too often, the lens through which we view life isn’t really a lens at all; it’s a mirror and we’ve been deceived! Is there anything we can do about it? Of course there is . . .

Citizens of
a different kingdom

First of all, we repent of our duplicity. We stop pretending and admit to God that we’ve lied to Him and to ourselves (1 Jn 1:9). We remember that we are citizens of a different kingdom and meant for things far greater than only the stuff this world and culture say are good (1 Pet 2:11-12).

take stock

Secondly, we begin to take stock of our lives – looking outward instead of only inward. We remember who we are and Whose we are. We remember that the way to being guided continually, refreshed when thirsty, strengthened when weak, and fruitful in our lives comes from understanding and knowing our true identities (Isa 58).