He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10, NIV).
Recap: The Call: Woe To Me! Send Me! (Isaiah 6:1-8). “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying…” (Isaiah 6:8).
- Have you heard “the call”? God’s “voice”?
- Do you have a defining moment in your life?
- A defining moment between God and you?
- Do you have a “God moment”?
- Have you “seen” God? Do you want to see God?
- Have you felt woe? Ruin? Doom?
- Do you have a sense of what your specific calling is? What God is sending you out for?
The Call (Isaiah 6): Outline [Answers below]
- C________ a vision (1-4): Sees the Lord.
- C________ his sin (5): Experiences woe.
- C_______ by grace (6-7): Fiery conversion.
- C_____ by God (8): Hears “the call.”
- C________ about c________ people (9-10).
- C______ explained (11-13).
Even Bible translators eisegete Isaiah 6:9-10
- To place meaning on a text which is not originally or inherently present in the text itself.
- The Septuagint--Greek translation--(mis)translates, “you will hear but you will not understand; you will see, but you will not perceive.” What did they do? They shifted the blame of Israel’s sin from God and Isaiah to Israel.
- A Qumran manuscript even reverses the message as “Keep on listening, because you may understand… Let them understand in their heart and return and be healed.” On the other hand…
- “God is judging Israel for their failure to do something that he himself had made impossible.” “Yahweh is certainly to blame for a considerable proportion of the misery and misfortune that befalls his people.” A. Davis, Double Standards in Isaiah.
What does Isaiah 6:9-10 mean?
- Quoted 5 times in the N.T. (Mt 13:14-15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10; Jn 12:39-41; Ac 28:26-27).
- Translators attempted to remove the difficulty of God hardening people’s hearts, but this is exactly what God did!
- The plain meaning says to tell people NOT to understand and then to make sure they don’t!
- The people will heed but not hear Isaiah.
- Comprehensive: “outer” and “inner” faculties.
- How unable are the people to comprehend?
Why does hardness of heart happen?
- Is hardness of heart Isaiah’s fault?
- Was Isaiah a bad teacher, preacher and communicator?
- “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? 10 For it is: Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there” (Isa 28:9-10, NIV). “Why does he speak to us like this? Are we little children, just recently weaned?” (Isa 28:9, NLT).
- The people were prejudiced against that which is the true intent and meaning of what Isaiah said, taught and preached.
- They looked upon the truth (or Isaiah himself) as a provocation and their corruption was exasperated by it.
Are you responsible for your blindness?
- “Astonish yourselves 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)” (Isa 29:9-10, ESV).
- “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord” (Isa 26:10).
Can Bible study make a person worse?
- Those who resist the truth can be saved only by being told the truth simply and plainly.
- The only 2 options are: be saved or be judged.
- The same truth change and harden hearts.
- The very opportunity that could bring one salvation could bring them judgment.
- This is the preacher’s dilemma.
- What can/should we do?
- Will there be anyone who believes?
What can we learn about God and man?
- God knows your h____ (1 Sam 16:7; Jer 17:9).
- God knows your f_____ (Jer 29:11).
- God knows the end at the beginning (Isa 44:6; 48:12).
- God knows the choices you will make before you make them.
- God is sovereign, yet man is …
- … fully responsible (Gal 6:7; Phil 2:12-13).
- God’s sovereignty is never an excuse for irresponsibility.
One of the great tensions in the Bible is…..
- …between God’s foreknowledge and human freedom.
- The Bible teaches both (Gen 50:20; Ac 2:23-24).
- God knows the future, but this does not preclude us from having freedom.
- The Bible presents a fine tension/balance between God fulfilling his promise and our responsibility to trust and obey (6:11-13).
- God will keep his promise. But that does not absolve us from responsibility.
What can we learn from this?
- There is mystery in the way God works.
- God has his own mysterious plan and purpose.
- Everything does not fall neatly into place.
- Life is a process. There is no magic bullet. There is no one size fits all.
- Wisdom and understanding takes time, patience, maturity, experience.
- Not everything can be comprehensively solved and resolved.
- Don’t try to avoid or reduce all conflict and tension in your life.
- Live a holy life in awe of God who loves you.
- Work things out with fear and trembling.
- Be patient. Be humble. Be thankful. Be prayerful.
- Enjoy God and life with all of its mysteries, tensions, conflicts and headaches.
How have you experienced tension and conflict in your heart and life?
- Confronts a vision.
- Confesses his sin.
- Cleansed by grace.
- Called by God.
- Cautioned about calloused people.