People Who Lack Understanding

from Lynda Lindsey

The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. Isaiah 1:3

Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding… Isaiah 5:13(a)

Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:2-6

Rebellious people. A sinful nation. Doers of evil. Forsaking the Lord, spurning the Holy One of Israel. Totally corrupt, except for a small remnant of faithful believers. Even among the animals, the ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s food trough, but Israel, God’s chosen people, didn’t know or understand God! Israel chose to hear, but not understand; to see, but not perceive; to shut their ears, eyes, and heart to God. God urged His people to reason together with Him, to cease from wrong and learn to do right, to seek justice and defend the oppressed, but with hardened hearts, Israel ignored God. Rotten to the core, obstinately ignoring God’s call to repent, God promised judgment and punishment. 

Into this milieu comes God’s spokesman and prophet Isaiah, who received his commission in a dramatic vision. The Lord, high and exalted, was sitting on a throne, the train of His robe filling the temple; He was surrounded by seraphs crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” As smoke poured forth and the earth quaked, Isaiah was overcome with his sinfulness in the presence of God’s holiness. Cleansed by God’s purifying fire, Isaiah’s response to God’s call is, “Here am I. Send me!” 

Isaiah, standing in stark contrast to the people to whom he preached, was wise and understanding. Isaiah understood that sin corrupts and healing can occur only when we are willing to be cleansed. Isaiah was willing; he quickly repented and didn’t turn his lips away from the burning coal that signified God’s cleansing. Isaiah’s tender heart allowed for a quick response to God’s call. Isaiah’s ears were turned to wisdom; he heard with understanding and comprehension. Isaiah’s eyes saw with perception, and he turned to God. Sin corrupts, robs us of understanding, and keeps us enslaved. Don’t be exiled from God’s sweet presence…choose to see and hear with understanding.