When the world is set on ignoring God what are we supposed to do as followers of Christ? Many people complain about what the world and especially America is becoming but we have a responsibility in how we are to live in the midst of a world that is ignoring God. Isaiah knew what it was like to have his message ignored and his warnings to people who kept rejecting God and following after other gods and seeking solutions through political means. God called Isaiah and He is calling us to live in such a way that our very lives point people to Jesus Christ. The way we live is called our Testimony.
Testimony; a statement made by a witness under oath especially in a court or a public declaration of a religious experience
We are all called to have a testimony to not just speak words but to live our lives as a testimony to the truth. Today we will see that Isaiah and his family were called to do just that among people who were ignoring God.
Isaiah 8:16-17 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching[a] among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.
1) The Testimony of God’s Word
“Seal up the testimony “ The act of storing and sealing the scroll so no changes could be made to it.
The first thing that should be a testimony to the world is that the Bible is spoken from our lips and shown through our lives. The Bible is God’s revelation to us about Himself and His salvation from our sins. No book in history has been more scrutinized and banned than the Bible and the reason it comes under so much criticism is because if people want to ignore God they have to also ignore the Bible.
God wanted the people to see that the things that Isaiah prophesied about will come true and so God had Isaiah make a legal document that could be verified later. The Bible has never been proven untrue and you have to twist the scriptures or distort its meaning if you want to say that it is untrue. Followers of Christ preserve the Word of God by remembering its promises that God will make all things new in the end. As we trust in the promises of God we will not give into the ways of the world.
Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
We need to seal up and store Gods word in us so that people see the testimony of God through us. We can count on the testimony of God’s word because it has never been wrong and God’s word is more than just a book because it is from God Himself. This is why people can read the Bible and be convicted of sins and even change by surrendering their wills to God through Jesus Christ. The Bible is special and unique because God made it that way. The prophecies in the bible have come true time and time again and the prophecies that are still to come can be counted on to happen as if you are reading tomorrow’s news headlines.
To “wait” means that we are to patiently look for divine intervention We are people of action and we do things even if they are wrong because we do not trust what God can do. When our world seems to be ignoring God we need to just wait on Him to act because what He has promised will come true.
God is hiding His face from the people because of their rejection of Him even though He has reached out to them through His prophet Isaiah. To hides ones face means to withdraw favor from them.
To Hope: means to have eager expectation. When the rest of the world rejects God the disciples (followers of Christ) are to put their trust in His promises as they patiently wait with the Hope that He will do what He says He will do. You have to decide to be faithful to God when the majority of the world walks away from Him. Is your life a living testimony of the word of God? In order for the word of God to speak through your life you need to store Gods word in your heart by reading, memorizing and meditating on it.
Isaiah 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
2) The Testimony of your Family
“I and the Children are signs” Isaiah was letting them know that their family would be a reminder of who God is and what He expects from His people. Isaiah name means Yahweh is salvation so even his name would be a reminder. Isaiah and his family would live and walk among people and how they lived would tell others that God is the true source of salvation. Our families are to be testimonies to the rest of the world in how we live and where we put our faith and trust. When we are living like the rest of the world by placing our faith and trust in other things but God then we are not a testimony to them. How we handle disappointment, how we handle getting cut from a team, how we handle a job loss and so forth all are testimonies to where we place our hope and trust.
“Some church parents fearful of the world try to isolate their children from the lost. Those same parents probably hope their children will grow up to be strong adults who then will try to win the world to Jesus. Unfortunately, there is no magic switch a parent can throw to change an older teen’s mindset from avoid lost people at all costs to “draw all people to Christ”. Parents who have reared the family with a bunker mentality probably will get young adults content to live out their lives in that bunker. … How many days or years has it been since you joined with your child to pray by name for a lost friend? …What is a step you can take this week to lead members of your family to have hearts for the lost? (Youth Ministry that Last a Lifetime, Dr. Richard Ross, Pg 104-105)
We have to remember that God left Isaiah and his entire family in the midst of a people who had rejected God to be a testimony to the truth. Your family is a testimony or a declaration about God that the world cannot ignore because what you make a priority in your life will be seen by others.
Isaiah 8:19-22 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land,[b] greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against[c] their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.
3) The Testimony of where to find the Truth
“Should not a people inquire of their God?” When we seek our answers from God and not the answers the rest of the world has to offer we give testimony to who God is. The world seems to seek everyone and everything else while ignoring God and unfortunately we seem to do the same thing as Christians.
“Should they inquire of the dead among the living?” It was culturally acceptable to call upon the dead Seeking out mediums or fortune tellers or anyone who gets in contact with the dead is forbidden in scripture. (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
“Why would anyone want to talk to a dead person’s spirit about the living? It’s illogical for God’s covenant people to seek advice from anyone other than their own covenant God. He knows them, loves them, protects them, and guides them, so why would they go elsewhere? It also does not make much sense to go to the dead to find out about the living. The spirit of a dead person does not become a divine being with supernatural knowledge about the future. (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, Pg 230-231)
Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Timothy 2:5 says there is one mediator between God and man and there is no need to go to anyone else but Him. We have access to God through Jesus Christ and we have been given the ability to approach God directly so why go anywhere else? The people in Isaiah’s day were ignoring God and turning to the dead for answers but it is only going to plunge them into deeper darkness.
“They will look to the earth… thrust into darkness.” All the answers the world has do not lead to light but only to darkness. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but so many people do not believe that.
“The person who does not believe that God exists has every reason to be depressed because he has no absolute standard for determining anything in his life; values are relative and events are random. There is not, nor can there be, any purpose for his life, and sooner or later he discovers that. As a result, a logical and consistently thinking unbeliever cannot help but be depressed.” Out of the Blues, Wayne Mack, Pg 34)
It is truly a sad day when a person is following the patterns of the world to only discover it leads them to more darkness. Life without God leads to destruction of one’s life not just in this life but also the one to come. People are lead astray by the lies of the world and we need to testify to the truth which is God’s word (John 17:17) and Jesus Himself. (John 14:6). 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light which means what seems to be the correct way to lead to light will eventually destroy you. This is why it is important that we let our light shine in the darkness so people can find the way home. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Ephesians 5:11-16 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
“They will speak against their king and their god.” People may hate you simply because you expose them for how they are living. They will blame everyone and everything, the gods they worshiped and even God Himself for how miserable they are. Spiritual darkness is a dangerous place to be because you can lose all hope that is why we are called to be light (Matthew 5:16) and Share the light with them. This is why it is important that we do not follow the ways of the world that lead to darkness because some people do not even know they are on the wrong path.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path
Where are people going to turn when they realize they believe a lie? If Christ followers continue to say that it does not matter how you live or what you believe then people will have no hope of finding that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
We have the responsibility to have ourselves and our families be a testimony to the rest of the world. In order for our lives to be a testimony we have to make sure that we are not looking to the world for answers but only to God Himself through His word and prayer. Where do you go when you do not have the answers, to God and His word or to the ways of the world? How are people going to know the truth unless we share with them and live a life in front of them that shows them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the LIFE (John 14:6) Your life is giving a testimony either toward God or away from Him.