Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear all ye far countries; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves and ye shall be broken in pieces.
Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.
For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
[God:] “Say ye not: ‘A confederacy,’ to all them to whom this people shall say: ‘A confederacy;’ neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
“Sanctify the Lord of hosts [Jesus Christ] Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
“And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
[Jesus:] “Bind up he testimony, seal the law among my disciples.”
[Isaiah:] “And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from Jacob, and I will look for Him.
“Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” – Isaiah 8:9-18
This passage is so rich, would that it were graffed into our souls! Isaiah, comissioned, and sent personally by Jesus Christ (Is. 6) reveals the foundational elements of the mystery of secret communion with Christ.
The book of Isaiah is written in the the historical context of Judah prior to the Babylonian exile. God is speaking to Isaiah who is living in the midst of ‘God’s people.’ Yet God speaks to him of a mystery which the people of Israel [God’s people] do not percieve. The context of our lives may be similar to Isaiah’s; perhaps you were raised in a Christian home, and live right in the midst of a church community. Perhaps not, no matter, God’s point to Isaiah is that it is those who seek the Messiah, not a congregation of ‘God’s people’ who are going to live in the mystery of godliness.
God told Isaiah to “Say not: ‘A confederacy,'” even to those whom God’s people made confederacy with. God’s people of the time were choosing to partisan (politically, and spiritually) according to what they believed was most right. God admonished the prophet that even though the congregation of God’s people were confederating, those who sought the Lord should not. The fear of man leads to confederacy with man. Rather than fearing man and choosing to partisan, Isaiah and his disciples were to sanctify the Lord, alone as their fear and their dread.
Christ would be a stumblingblock to the congregation of Israel, and He was – not only when He came in the flesh, but even back in Isaiah’s day. The people generally would prove unwilling to seperate the Lord alone as their dread and their fear. They would not wait upon the invisible Christ (the Lord that hideth His face from Jacob), but sought help from visible, human confederates instead. Is it not the same in our day? People seek for a leader – one who is not amorphous, but tangible; one who is not invisible, but in the flesh. Yet even when Christ, Himself, came in the flesh He declared that it was better for us to know Him and commune with Him in spirit, rather than in the flesh (John 16:7).
Yet God promised that the Truth of His Word would be bound up to His disciples. Oh what privelege and blessing there is to wait upon the Lord who hideth His face from Jacob! One disciple would later ask of Christ when He came in the flesh: ‘Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?’ (John 14:22)
To this, the Lord’s response affirms the revelation of Isaiah which had come so many years prior:
‘If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and will come unto him and make our abode with him.’ (John 14:23)
The Word of the Lord is sealed up among His disciples. Would you have direction? Do you seek revelation from God? Do not asociate and partisan with man – worldly wisdom will only distract you from heeding the fear of the Lord. The carnal objectives of other men will become your own when you confederate with them.
Have you ever heard a secret from the Lord that ran contrary to the general belief of the congregation? Have you ever become ostracised because the people you know have made confederacies that you have avoided, seeking rather to unite with Christ, alone? You will if you keep His words.
But yet blessing upon blessing is promised us; not only did we recieve the promise that the revelation of God’s word would be sealed to us (Is. 8:16) – that we would have the understanding of the mysteries of he Gospel revealed by the Holy Ghost (John 14:26) – not this aone, but we also will be for signs and for wonders among God’s people (Isaiah 8:18)!
You see, the wind blows wherever it desires, one can hear the sound, but never will know where it came from, or where it is going. (John 3:8)
If you are led by the Spirit, you won’t be constrained the same way that others are. If we would be led of the Spirit, we cannot take other Christians, even the congregation or ministers as our security, but must fear and reverence Christ, alone. Those who do this will become signs, and wonders even in the midst of the people of God.
‘What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him…’ (Ps. 25:13 & 14)
In another of Isaiah’s prophecies about the coming Christ, Isaiah declared of Jesus:
‘…He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after he hearing of His ears: But with rihteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth…’ (Isaiah 11:3b-4a)
How can the Lord judge in rightousness, and equity if he does not judge according to what He sees, and hears?
The context makes clear it is because He judges by the Spirit of God, and not by human understanding:
‘The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him… And He [the Holy Ghost] shall make Him [Jesus] of quick understanding in the fear of he Lord…’ (Is. 11:2a & 3a)
The Lord is near to YOU, and you can heed and be led by His Spirit but in order to do so we must turn ourselves away from the fear of man, and unto the fear of God. This process is called repentance. Repent your heart unto God; wait upon the Lord that hides His face from Jacob (he natural man). Notice that God hides his face from Jacob. Contextually, the house of Jacob refers to the Jews – the earthly seed of Jacob. Yet beyond that, it applies in the more general sense to us. Christ changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Gen. 32:28; 35:10); Israel represents the spiritual man born from above, Jacob, the natural man born below.
God hides His face from the natural man; the carnal; those who associate, and confederate with man and his institutions. But the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. Interesting parralell: when Jacob wrestled the Messiah, and had his name changed to Israel (when he was born again), he declared that he had seen the FACE of God (Genesis 32:30). He hides His face from Jacob (he carnal), but reveals it to Israel (the spiritual).
In our day, there are any number of church trends, and movements; many of these are formulated by the confederation of men for certain earthly motives. Whether social, political, or even spiritual, these even church trends will distract us from heeding the voice of the Spirit, from personally waiting upon the Lord who hides His face from Jacob.
I recall when I was younger, and had just recently committed my life to he Lord, I would visit different youth group or church services, and find how immensely others around me were being blessed in the worship service. I recall wondering if there was something wrong with me when I ididn’t seem to be as moved as the others, or didn’t really sense God’s presence in it. Taking bearing on my spiritual senses, I realized my communion with Christ was still present. I realized the difference was that I had been in fellowship before I got there. I could, therefore, see the change in others as hey began to make contact with the Spirit of God as they came into worship. His sometimes made me wonder because I found that some of the most intimate and moving momments of worship for me were when I communed with God, alone.
I’ve found in practice, this is necessary to avoid he sway of the influences of man, rather than the Spirit of God. Those instances where public worship was drawing people into God’s presence; that was (and is) ministry. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Yet, even that worship service is put on by man; in order for some people to experience fellowship with the Lord, they require the leading of men to get them there. They’re not waiting on the Lord of their own initiative. Again, leading worzhip is viable, and valuable ministry, but… have you ever been in a service where the flesh took control? Have you ever seen, or experienced ministry where the agendas of men took over? If your expereince is like mine, then the answer is: “All too often.”
When these things occur, generally it goes unpercieved if those present are not in fellowship with the Spirit of God. Let me give one example; we visited a local church some few years back, the worship service was good, and as it went I began to feel a sermon rise up inside of me. I felt distinctly that Christ wanted to preach a message, and that message was (in a brief summary): “Every opportunity has been opened for you in the cross. Reach out to Christ and recieve it!”
The emphasis I clearly felt he Spirit of God prompting within mewas on our part, we need to RESPOND to the Gospel. We need to seek the Lord to find Him.
As soon as the pastor got up to preach, I learned why the Spirit of God wanted to prech that. The man’s (whose text actually had nothing to do with it) preached the exact opposite, declaring in no uncertain terms that there is NOTHING that we have to do, but Christ did it for us, in fact that doing ANYTHING in intentional response to the Lord was self-righteousness. I wondered, with such theology, why we were all at church.
I had’t come with an agenda, and as a visitor I didn’t know what the pastor’s theology was, but it was clear to me that the Lord had a heavenly message, and we got an earthly one.
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. May we fear Him, and wait upon Him rather than man.