Thoughts on Isaiah 29:9-24

I came across these incredible verses last week while doing my quiet time:

9 Astonish yourselves [2] and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).

11 And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”

12 And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”

13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

15 Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

17 Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
21 who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

– Isaiah 29:9-24 (ESV; emphasis added)

Why “incredible”? God is blinding the understanding of His people, which is covered also in Isaiah 6:9-10, and quoted in Romans 11:8 and Matthew 13:14-15 – but what is different here is that He is blinding the eyes and ears of the prophets and seers. That is how disobedient they are! Not even Israel’s prophets and seers were able to discern the truth, even if it were as plain as a book in front of them… Israel feigned obedience, talked a good talk, and thought they hid their sin from God – but God, desiring their hearts rather than their words, disciplined them for their sin.

Is it any wonder that my mind and heart get clouded when I try to do the same thing? That it seems like God is remote, that Scripture is difficult to understand when I try to protect some sin in my life? Thank You, Lord, for this reminder of how jealously You seek to protect right relationship with us!

Father, may your grace abound in me so that I may stand firm and not seek my own counsel, not seek to hide any sin from You, but ever vigilant to root out sin in my life and live only to see Your name honored and glorified in every area of my life!

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