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Tell Us Pleasant Things

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.” (Isaiah 30:8-14)

Notice the unwillingness of the people to listen to the truth even though they know it is the truth: “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions” (v. 10). Notice also that their uncorrected iniquity does not result in immediate judgment. But there will be judgment: “This sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant” (v. 13). The judgment is certain and devastating, and the people were given an advance warning of it.

How does this apply to Christians today? We have two temptations. First, we want to hear smooth words. We flock to teachers who speak pleasant things. Paul warned Timothy about this in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

The second is a temptation to respond to this demand by becoming the prophet of “smooth things.” We cannot escape our responsibility by laying this charge at the feet of liberals. It is a major problem in all denominations.

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