The prophet Isaiah shares a wealth of timeless truths. The immediate concern as to the security of the nation of Judah is that of the keys to their survival. They must truly return to the Lord and trust him completely. The challenges a revelations in the text are relavent to anyone seeking God’s counsel for a life of peace and strength.
Isaiah 29: 13-14 remind us of the continual danger of worship that is merely on the surface. In our day we hear the term “worship wars” to describe controversy which surrounds styles of music in corporate worship. There is also pressure to break down the nature of preaching to use multimedia and drama. What is missed in this discussion is the reality that these are all surface issues. The real issue in worship is to open your heart to God. We must listen for His voice. We must hunger for His will. Styles of worship do very little to bring this about. This is a matter of seeking God. You could sit in an empty church building in solitude and experience amazing worship if you were truly hungry for an encounter with God. The man made rules that Isaiah refers to remind me of the attitude that suggests that if we follow a certain procedure that God will inevitably respond. God cannot be manipulated. The further we pursue procedure instead of a real encounter, the more likely we will experience a loss of godly wisdom and lose the capacity to experience real worship.
Verses 15 and 16 reveal the disconnect between the way people live as opposed to their professing to be followers of the Lord. God knows our hearts. We may deceive others and sometimes even ourselves, but we will never deceive the Lord. It is amazingly foolish to assume that our lifestyle doesn’t matter.
In Isaiah 30: 1-3, God speaks through the prophet to reveal the folly of seeking help from Egypt. Egypt would be know help against the rising powers from the north. On the other hand God could easily withstand any power on earth. A modern application of this could be made in the way we seek advice. Often people will parade around seeking counsel until they hear the advice they really want. Failing to hear what they want to hear they will twist any advice to suit their desires. God speaks plainly to virtually any situation which life presents. If we do not have specific direction from Scripture, we at least have principles to aid us in wise choices. Prayer and the Word should always supercede human advice. Worldly wisdom leads to destruction.
Much havoc is heaped on those who rush to judgement. Repentence and rest speaks of turning away from our sins and turning to the Lord. We can find rest for our souls when our hearts are turned to Him. Quietness and trust reveal the amazing resources of solitude and faith. Worry and anxiety should be replaced by prayer and faith. God will reveal what course we should take. The 21st verse of chapter 30 puts the perfect exclamation point on this truth, “Whether you turn to the right, or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying,’This is the way. Walk in it.'”