"Those who fashion a graven image are all of them futile, and their precious things are of no profit; even their own witnesses fail to see or know, so that they will be put to shame. Who has fashioned a god or cast an idol to no profit? Behold, all his companions will be put to shame, for the craftsmen themselves are mere men. Let them all assemble themselves, let them standup, let them tremble, let them together be put to shame.
"The man shapes iron into a cutting tool, and does his work over the coals, fashioning it with hammers, and working it with his strong arm. He also gets hungry and his strength fails; he drinks no water and becomes weary.
"Another shapes wood, he extends a measuring line; he outlines it with red chalk. He works it with planes, and outlines it with a compass, and makes it like the form of a man, like the beauty of man, so that it may sit in a house. Surely he cuts cedars for himself and takes a cypress or an oak, and raises it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself, he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image, and falls down before it. Half of it burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire. But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, Deliver me, for thou art my god.
"They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend. And no one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding to say, I have burned half of it in the fire, and also have baked bread over its coals. I roast meat and eat it. Then I make the rest of it into an abomination, I fall down before a block of wood!
"He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" (Isaiah 44:9-20).
You have just read a story of the most incredible kind of blindness in all of God's Word. Here is a backslidden son of Israel who cuts down a tree, puts part of it in a fire over which he cooks a meal, and fashions the other part into an idol and calls it his god! How could any intelligent human be so blind, so ignorant, so undiscerning?
It was because of something God did to this man. God smeared his eyes over so he could no longer understand or discern. This man fed on ashes, his eyes were blind, and his heart was deceived. He was living a lie; he saw no need of help, no need of deliverance - because he was not aware of his pitiful condition.
We look at this mindless man and see a blindness beyond comprehension. Yet, God said no one is more blind than some of His very own servants:
"Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see. Who is blind but my servant, Or so deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with me, Or so blind as the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; your ears are open, but none hears. The Lord was pleased for His righteousness' sake to make the law; great and glorious. But this is a people plundered and despoiled; All of them are trapped in caves, Or are hidden away in prisons; They have become a prey with none to deliver them, And a spoil, with none to say, Give them back! Who among you will give ear to this?. Who will give heed and listen hereafter? Who gave Jacob up for spoil, and Israel to plunderers? Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned, And in whose ways they were not willing to walk, And whose law they did not obey? So He poured out on him the heat of His anger and the fierceness of battle; And it set him aflame all around, Yet he did not recognize it; And it burned him, but he paid no attention" (Isaiah 42:18-25).
Isaiah depicts the condition in God's house today! There is almost no discernment left! Hear the prophet again: "My messenger - My messenger whom I sent - BLIND!" He says, "You see many things. (You run to one seminar after another. You read endless numbers of books. You hear so much about truth and revelation, but it doesn't change your life.) But you don't observe it.!"
God's people are being plundered and despoiled by fierce winds and waves of doctrine. Doctrines of demons have trapped multitudes in caves and prisons of despair. Converts become a prey to new teachings and are becoming a spoil of Satan.
There are so few ministers with enough holy discernment to say, "Enough! This is wrong." So few to cry out, "Give them back!" So few with enough divine wisdom and understanding to deliver the deceived and trapped ones.
Where did this blindness in God's servants come from? It is sin in the hearts of shepherds, and it is sin in the lives of believers, that is causing a famine of discernment in God's house. Isaiah said, "In whose ways they were not willing to walk, and whose law they did not obey."
John prophesies of a last-day Laodicean church which is totally blind without knowing it: "You say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17).
The world is touching and tainting almost everything in God's house and few are alarmed. Why? Isaiah said, "And it set him aflame all around, Yet he did not recognize it; And it burned him, but he paid no attention" (Isaiah 42:25).
We are learning to justify our sins and accommodate them. Choreographed dancing in many Charismatic churches today seems so novel, so innocent, but now, in some areas, it is ending up with ballroom dancing on Saturday nights - sponsored by the church. It is another step of the blind stumbling toward the world. And appetite for pleasure is being incubated in God's people right in the sanctuary. Spontaneous dancing in the Spirit can be a marvelous offering of praise, but choreographed dancing in God's house smacks of fleshly manipulation.
Literally thousands of ministers and Christian laymen have purchased TV discs which are now capable of pulling in pornography from playboy-type satellite channels. Men of God, in growing numbers, stand in their pulpits preaching the righteousness of a holy God, then sit before Satan's vicious idol and drink in soul-damning porn.
Who is able to discern that Satan is using these weapons to rob believers of their faith, to destroy peace, to disrupt holiness, to break up homes, and to ruin ministries? Where are the shepherds who cry out, "Give us back unpolluted homes! Give us back homes without idols, violence, and promiscuity!"
Numerous Christian couples now drink, attend night clubs, and love to party You see them in God's house with their hands raised, praising the Lord. What clapping! What loud hosannas! What a wonderful sound they make unto the Lord. Yet they can no longer discern what is right and wrong, sensuous or spiritual. Isaiah warned:
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil: who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness: who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20)
Sadly, there are so few discerning shepherds to call them back from their worldly lusts. Tragically, many sincere Christians are going to fall; they will perish because without discernment it will become nearly impossible to survive the demonic invasion which is even now accelerated. The Word says:
"The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands" (Isaiah 57:1).
Why are so many sincere Christians today being deceived by the self-centered teachings, which cater to the flesh? Because there is no understanding left no discernment! There is a form of Godliness without power, there is so little of true holiness.
"An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely. And the priests on their own authority; And my people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?" (Jeremiah 5:30-31).
"Gods of a New Age" is a wrenching movie depicting the heartbreaking delusion of thousands of our youth as they give their minds and souls to Indian Gurus. I am appalled by the total lack of discernment among youth in this nation. Could it be a result of the blindness and lack of discernment in the church? Isaiah said:
"His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are dumb dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one" (Isaiah 56:10-11).
This lack of discernment among God's people was the anguish of Jeremiah's soul, too. Israel's blindness overwhelmed him as he cried:
"My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, Because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, For the whole Land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, My curtains in an instant. How long must I see the standard, And hear the sound of the trumpet? For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children, And they have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know" (Jeremiah 4:19-22).
"Harlotry, wine, and new wine take away the understanding. My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner's wand informs them: For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, And they have played the harlot, departing from their God" (Hosea 4:11-12).
Read it again: "A spirit of harlotry has led them astray, And they have played the harlot, departing from their God." A man of God with secret sin in his life, an indulgent man, a sensuous man, will have his spiritual understanding smeared! He is blind, having been stripped of all spiritual wisdom or knowledge.
"This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness" (Ephesians 4:17-19).
Hardened, calloused, having given themselves over to sensuality - practicing every kind of impurity with greediness!
Timothy warns of "the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron" (1 Timothy 4:1). These include men of God, deceived by lying spirits and doctrines of demons. The double-minded servants of God have no more discernment - yet they possess a false peace.
"These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make... lest there shall be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; lest there shall be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. And it shall be when he hears the words of the curse, that he will boast, saying, I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry" (Deuteronomy 29:1,18-19).
The church right now is overrun with these counselors of rebellion.
"You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you" (Deuteronomy 13:3-5).
Jeremiah shared God's wrath against the counselors of rebellion. Hananiah was preaching peace and prosperity when God was calling for wrath and judgment. Jeremiah said to him:
"The Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie... Behold, I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This year you are going to die, because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord" (Jeremiah 28:l5-l6).
The true prophets of God blamed the shepherds for the blindness in Israel. Jeremiah thundered:
"For the shepherds have become stupid (dull) and have not sought the Lord; Therefore they have not prospered. And all their flock is scattered"
"Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard. They have trampled down my pleasant field a desolate wilderness" (Jeremiah 12:10).
"Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 23:1).
"My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains. . . And have forgotten their resting place" (Jeremiah 50:6). Satan Is Going After The Shepherds!
If he can deceive a single shepherd, blind him to some kind of immorality, he will rob him of his spiritual discernment, and that man of God will end up counseling rebellion from the pulpit!
I know! I was once one of those counselors of rebellion. I was offering comfort to the divorced, because at that time my own marriage was in trouble. I could not show God's people their iniquities because of rebellion in my own soul.
All this liberal, sensuous, easy going preaching today is coming out of the hearts of shepherds who are bound by sin themselves. Out of the abundance of their hearts, they speak compromise. They cannot honestly show God's people their iniquities because of the deep-hidden sin of their own hearts.
Hear God's Word:
"For both prophet and priest are polluted; Even in My house I have found their wickedness, declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 23:11).
"From the prophets of Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land" (Jeremiah 23:15).
"Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles" (Lamentations 2:14).
The Holy Spirit is even now raising up a holy, sanctified remnant of shepherds and servants who are gifted with great spiritual discernment! They will lead God's remnant with renewed understanding!
Here is what this ministry will be:
"But the Levitical priests, the sons Of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord God. They shall enter My sanctuary; they shall come near to My table to minister to Me and keep My charge. Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean" (Ezekiel 44:15-16,23).
"Cry loudly, do not hold back; raise your voice like a trumpet. And declare to my people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins" (Isaiah 58:1)
God's true shepherds have heard the call to repentance and are responding. I rejoice to read the many letters now pouring into our office from ministers and Christian workers who confess they had fallen away and were cold and without fire and unction. Now, they desperately hunger for true holiness and cleansing. They want to see a revival of righteousness in their churches and in their communities.
True discernment leads one to see his own personal sin in the heart and to cast it out. It also leads us to see how far from purity we have strayed - and get back to the narrow path.
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth the of the Lord.
"They keep saying to those who despise Me, the Lord has said. You will have peace, And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, Calamity will not come upon you. But who has stood in the council of the Lord, That he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened? Behold, the storm of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, Even a whirling tempest; It will swirl down on the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; In the last days you will clearly understand it.
"I did not send the prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, Then they would have announced My words to My people, And would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds." (Jeremiah 23:16-22).