“For this is a rebellious people, false sons,
Sons who refuse to listen
To the instruction of the Lord;
Who say to the seers, ‘You must not see visions’;
And to the prophets, ‘You must not prophesy to us what is right,
Speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions.
Get out of the way, turn aside from the path,
Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.'” -Is. 30.9-11
When Isaiah prophesied to Judah hundreds of years before the Son of God was born in Bethlehem, there was a large portion of the society which was content and comfortable with a false view of the Lord, and was willing to live in a lie. They sought to pressure God’s true prophet into a kind of proclamation that would titillate their ears and flow in steady stream with their unconsecrated lifestyles. They were not inclined to hearing any kind of a word which would jostle or jolt their ideas of God, or their self-made versions of what He desired for their lives. Hear this from Keil & Delitzsch’s commentary on Isaiah:
They forbid the prophets of Jehovah to prophesy straight or true things (things not agreeable to their own wishes), but would rather hear smooth, insinuating, and flattering things, even illusions or deceits. Their desire was to be entertained and lauded, not repelled and instructed.
… Thus do they fall out with Jehovah, and the bearers of His word.
As the years go by, a trembling grows in my soul for the Church, particularly those who name themselves as Christians in the western world. As another mega-church springs up, replete with exquisite programs and entertaining services, sermons on financial success and all manners of recreational possibilities, another questionable sign emerges. So scarcely do we hear a true word issuing from these congregations, and we ought to be concerned for the tens of thousands of souls who only know this kind of an experience of “church.” There are various expressions of “church” promulgated, from mega-ministries to house churches, but the passion for smooth words is no less alive in our day than it was in Isaiah’s. The question is as fitting now as ever, “Where are the prophets of God, and where are the saints who are willing to hear their words, respond to the call of the Lord they set forth, and live in the light of eternity from that foundational place?”
The mentality of false sons, or as the Hebrew indicates, “lying sons,” is to shirk and evade a word of requirement, and to express a desire for “pleasant words,” “smooth things,” which the prophet defines as “illusions.” If an illusion is anything, it’s the antithesis or the direct opposite of that which pertains to reality as God Himself sees it. To circumvent the direct truth of the word of the Lord is to be submerged in the quicksands of illusion and deceit. There is only one reality to the Living God. It is His kingdom and rule, the heavenly citadel of righteousness, peace, and joy, which He has desired to share with Israel and the nations, but which has mostly been rejected by the sons of men. The nations have succumbed to deception and planted their roots in illusions. We desperately need a revelation of reality as God Himself sees it, that our lives may come into conformity with what He has always desired.
Are we leaving room for illusions and deceit in our lives, being unwilling to hear from the prophet that “which is right,” that which is authentically “about the Holy One of Israel”? If the false prophets of Judah spoke about a version of Yahweh’s goodness, but did not set Him forth as He is and were unwilling to call Judah to her prophetic and priestly privilege and responsibility; and if this dilution and cheapening of God’s reality was defined by the prophet as a lie and an illusion, how far are we from the apostasy which plagued them? Are we seeking after “smooth words” which leave us in control of our lives, or are we willing to hear from “the Holy One of Israel” no matter what kind of shaking that brings?
He is absolutely trustworthy saints, and His shakings are for our eternal good. Let us not be given over to illusions and lies. Let us cry out for the reality of God, and the reality that a true word from Him brings to our lives. The only alternative in the last analysis is to “fall out with Jehovah,” though He has desired to give us life forevermore.