In my study of the prophet Isaiah, I am intrigued by God’s word to the people in Is. 8: 11-13 regarding conspiracy. “The Lord spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said, ‘Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread…..’.” Phillips translation reads, “Pay no attention to the rumors of this people, and do not be afraid of what they fear nor be in dread of it.”
The footnote in the NIVZSB give this insight. “Two different understandings of history: 1) Give God the central place that only the Holy One must have, or 2) explain historical events as the result of human conspiracy, with the constant dread of the unknown that this view engenders. Yahweh counsels Isaiah that if he is going to dread something, it ought to be the Lord Almighty (cf. Matt. 10:28).” Isaiah declares, “He will keep you safe “(14).
For those fearful of the rumors, “The Holy can be either a Hiding Place or a Boulder blocking your way, the Rock standing in the willful way of both houses of Israel, a barbed-wire fence preventing trespass to the citizens of Jerusalem. Many of them are going to run into that Rock and get their bones broken, get tangled up in that barbed wire and not get free of it” (Is. 8:14-16 – Message). By not trusting God’s purpose in history the people of Jerusalem would be blocked by a boulder and run into a barbed-wire fence. This can be our fate if we loss our trust in Jesus. The future is full of uncertainty when we are swayed by rumors.
For the people of Judah, fear of invasion was a constant threat. Some of the people regarded Isaiah’s message of non-involvement with Assyria as treasonous, part of a conspiracy. But Isaiah was not being political, rather he was exhorting the people to fear and trust the Lord. Fear caused by rumors can be a real enemy to our faith and a deterrent to our peace of mind. Isaiah did not know what the outcome would be, but he was confident in God. His advice was to wait and hope in God. “Then I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will rest my hope in him” (v. 17 – Phillips). Even though God was bringing judgment on his people, Isaiah was determined to wait for the Lord.
Men, I find it hard to wait and trust the Lord. Like you, I try to make sense of the political, social and cultural issues of our day. I find that I can be swayed by rumors. Ultimately I don’t know who to trust with any degree of confidence. I become fearful concerning the direction of our country. When I let myself project into the future, there are days when I feel an awful dread.
Isaiah visualizes a level road while we wait for God’s judgments. “The road of the righteous is a level road, you smooth out the way of the righteous. We have waited in the path of your judgments, Lord, longing in our hearts for a sign of you” (Is. 26:7-8 – Phillips). Isaiah gives those who wait for the Lord hope in the unexpected work of God. “For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! (Is. 64:4).