The Heart – Isaiah 29:13-16

Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.” Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the Lord, and whose deeds are done in a dark place, and they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Does the prosperity it has created, in itself, qualify the American Dream as a success? While it is critical, it is obvious that economics is not the guarantor of peace on earth and good will among men. We have growing problems that money can’t fix. It might even be argued that money exacerbates some of those problems.

As I drive through my neighborhood and see the privacy fences and then the larger homes with land and fences between them, I wonder how frequently these neighbors interact? I also wonder what is going on in the privacy of those houses. Are the family members partitioned off from each other? How many of them are engaged with video games, social media, entertainment or any of the (so called harmless?) things that rob them from authentic lives lived out face to face within a community?

Taking this one step further; inside the hearts of these individuals, what is going on?  Might we find our core problem here, hearts that are deeply hiding their plans from the Lord (and each other) and whose lives are being lived out in dark (private) places, where they are essentially saying, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”

I am beginning to wonder if TV producers are not mocking us with their zombie productions. Are they using the images of the living dead as a metaphor for our own grotesque inner lives and the dysfunctional communities we create? Could God be saying through these horror shows that in our isolation from Him and each other, we ourselves are the living casualties of the material world we have worshipped?

If we think of community simply as the connectivity between those created in His image, I believe God is giving low marks to the American Dream in the area of community. Who is taking the vital signs of community? Are there any preventative community-health measures we need to consider? Does God have any corrective measures in play?

For those Isaiah is reffering to in our passage, living with their private and toxic thoughts, God has a plan He thinks will be wondrously marvelous. How marvelous will it seem to the beneficiaries of this plan when God lets them know their worship is repulsive to Him? How wondrous will it seem when society’s remaining lights of wisdom and discernment are switched off? As children of light, we should find this commentary on visibility fascinating and sobering.

When we are healed and restored, we become agents of His kingdom. We ourselves become the credibility of His Good News. We become the safe houses for others. As we live out in the open, knowing we are fully seen, fully known and loved by God, our very lives become an invitation to the enslaved and isolated to venture out of the dark places where the devil has been systematically robbing us of the life of God. There, as children of light, we will demonstrate the liberty and freedom of the kingdom of God. We become the undisputed evidence that God’s Dreams trumps the American Dream. One day, the community of the redeemed, His Church will get high marks as she majors in connectivity, helping all those around her find their way back to the Father and to each other.

Father, even now, set your wondrously marvelous plans into motion. Awaken that communal gene of Yours in our hearts. Help us to find our security in You, that in love, we might lead a host of captivities into the liberty and joy of Christ. May all Your dreams come true in us. So be it.




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