Our haftarah portion this week is one of much disobedience and destruction. Isaiah is bringing forth words of judgment against Judah and Jerusalem.
I raised and brought up children, but they rebelled against me. An ox knows its owner and a donkey its master’s stall, but Israel does not know, my people do not reflect. Oh, sinful nation, a people weighed down by iniquity, descendants of evildoers, immoral children! They have abandoned Adonai, spurned the Holy One of Israel, turned their backs on him! (Isaiah 1:2-4)
Many of the prophets’ words are dark and full of condemnation. I can’t say for you, but I know that when it comes to personal application from The Word, the prophets are some of the hardest to pull day-to-day life lessons from. However, though it may be difficult, the lessons are certainly there.
I was having a conversation recently with someone about the concept of learning lessons from those more experienced than us rather than having to learn them through making the same mistakes. He was presenting the idea that sometimes you just need to make the mistakes yourself to really grasp the lesson from it. It’s true that if you make the mistake yourself, you have a more vivid idea of what such a mistake produces, and a deeper understanding of the lesson learned, but I believe that, as much as possible, we should draw from the experience of those older than us to avoid those mistakes entirely. I’m certain that it is my earthly father’s desire that I would be a better man, husband, and father than he was. And it is my desire that my son would be better than me as well, and the way that happens is if my son listens and adheres to the lessons I’ve learned through mistakes, and the the lessons drawn from the people in Scripture as well. If he does that, he won’t have to waste that time learning the same things I did, or that the people in the Bible did. He’ll be learning new things and going far beyond what I ever would, and that is how it should be.
All that to say that, even in these dark words of Isaiah, we can learn through the mistakes those people made. God brought the accusation before them of not knowing Him when even a donkey knows its master. What did Yeshua say on this?
But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd. This is the one the gate-keeper admits, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out. After taking out all that are his own, he goes on ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They never follow a stranger but will run away from him, because strangers’ voices are unfamiliar to them. (John 10:2-5)
I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me. (John 10:14)
It is so important to know His voice. As a husband and a new father, I’m realizing this more than ever before. In order for me to lead my family on the straight, true path, it’s essential that I hear my Shepherd’s voice and know where He is leading me. But of course, no matter where you are in life or what your current role is, we all need to know His voice so we are not led away by a stranger leading us to the destruction found in our Haftarah. His voice will be what brings peace in the midst of your chaos. His voice is what challenges you to do what’s right when it’s not easy. His voice is what speaks love over you when the Enemy beats you down. Spend time with Him, learn His whispers. If you do, you will not fail.