This Verse Cuts Deep!

Posted on July 9, 2020

2


By David Ettinger

A Loving Appeal
The Israelites had been in the land approximately 650 years, and compiled an almost 7-century “legacy” of sin and disobedience against God. Though the Lord punished them for their delinquency – and sometimes quite severely – He had not yet “lowered the boom” on them. That is, God, in His mercy, had neither destroyed the Jewish nation, nor sent them into exile.

What God had done, was send a multitude of prophets to remind them of their numerous transgressions, warn them of the consequences of these transgressions, and, appeal to them to repent. Israel’s great prophet Isaiah worded it this way:

Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to Me, and have neither remembered Me nor taken this to heart? Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?

Judging from the severe judgment which would soon befall Israel, it is obvious this plea did not move them. For me, however, it hit hard and cut deep!

God’s Tenderness
What strikes me about Isaiah 57:11 is its tenderness. Though a rebuke, God is not coming down forcefully upon His errant children, but as a father reasons with them. In so doing, the Lord reveals a gentle side of His character, one which can be emotionally hurt. God, in essence, entreats the Israelites: Who is it who has a greater importance in your life that you have forsaken Me? Is it the Egyptians you fear? The Assyrians? Is this why you exalt them over me?

In giving their attention to others, the Israelites have “not been true” to God, nor have they “remembered” Him. Israel has been unfaithful and neglectful of their Heavenly Father, taking nothing He says “to heart.”

The Lord then points to His patience when He says: “Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?” In other words, God is saying: Is it because I have been patient with you, giving you the opportunity to change your ways, that you consider Me impotent? Because I have lovingly waited for you to change, have you lost all regard of Me?

Cutting Deep
This verse comes in loud and clear to me!

Though I read the Bible about 1 hour a day, I am, on the other hand, weak in prayer. It is something I have never done well. It’s easy for me to absorb large portions of God’s Word, and I love “hearing” from Him. But praying involves taking the time to talk to God, to spend time with Him in a much more personal way, and I have failed at it.

Aggravating this situation is that I am an empty-nester and have plenty of time to pray and spend quality time with God. Though I spend my weekends with my son, grandson, and daughter-in-law, the five weekday evening hours are mine to do with as I please.

Regarding Isaiah 57:11, I cannot say that I neglect God out of fear, but I do so out of too much interest in other ­­things. Rather than spend time conversing with God in prayer – and at the same time strengthening this area of weakness – I watch a movie or a YouTube video, wasting brain cells and precious time on things which have no eternal value.

Applying this verse, I can rephrase it this way (God speaking): “What is it that so captivates your time and attention that you have neither remembered me nor taken Me to heart?” I have no good answer for this as I can only repent and determine to rectify the wrong.

What About You?
What keeps you from “remembering” God or “taking Him to heart?” Is it the current riotous state of affairs broadcast daily on your TV? Is it the sports or entertainment fields? Is it your job or social life?

In Isaiah 57:11, the Lord is asking you and me: “Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to Me, and have neither remembered Me nor taken this to heart?”

We are living in extraordinary times, but this is no excuse to neglect God. May we determine to give to our beloved Heavenly Father the honor, attention, and time He so immeasurably deserves!