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May 29: Isaiah 30
Deuteronomy 2; Psalms 83–84; Isaiah 30; Jude
The leaders of Israel, under threat from an enemy, are making an alliance with Egypt (1-3). They think it will profit them, but from God’s perspective, this is defection from Him (4-7). Thus it is shameful. At least it should be to them.
Thus they are rebellious (9). But when God’s preacher proclaims this, they demonstrate their inner rebellion by how they respond:
10 “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, 11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
Welcome to the modern American church. We say to preachers, Do not tell us about judgment. Essentially we ask of them, “Prophesy lies, please.” Tell us about a God Who smooths things out for us; don’t tell us about hard standards of right.
All of this is a temptation to godly preachers. The people who “pay their bills” say to them, “Leave the way you were called to.” Modern observers have called this resulting American gospel “moralistic, therapeutic deism”: we preach morals that the people can already attain (leaving many other sins in place); God is there to psychological soothe us (from the wreckage caused by our sins); after all, He’s a distant, inert God Who does not ask much of us in the end.
But the shalom we need will only come by a submission to all that He says, in all life - by “returning” (15).