Isaiah 28.9-13 – Charry Picking Scripture.
Posted: 3 March 2014 in Isaiah

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Perhaps this is not the most obvious lesson to take out of the above passage, although it is not a million miles removed from it. Recently going through my mind was the way in which people today can sit light to the words of the Bible, with the primary motivation being that they don’t like what it says. Not excluded from that are many of those who like to label themselves “Bible believing Christians” (by which they generally mean that they are Young Earth Creationists). There are, of course, myriad examples of that, but one of the most frequently heard is a protest against the concept of eternal punishment – and that even in the face of the unambiguous words of Christ. For example in Matthew 25.46:

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

[Sometimes people will try to argue that the Greek word which is there translated everlasting doesn’t actually mean everlasting. Yet you never hear it argued that that very same word doesn’t mean everlasting when it is used in connection with the everlasting God. (As it is in both the Septuagint and Romans 16.26)]

One of the favoured options for evading the doctrine of eternal damnation is to postulate universal salvation. It goes pretty much without saying that nobody coming to the New Testament for the first time could possibly read that out of it. So to make it say what they want it to say, the proponents of universal salvation have to indulge in the selective reading of scripture, and subtle argumentation, which only academics, or those informed by them, could be capable of: “The word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little,” as Isaiah puts it.

I really cannot believe that God would wrap his scriptures up in language so obtuse that people have been misunderstanding them for 2,000 years, and that, even today, their true meaning can only be uncovered by specialists in ivory towers. The Bible is not an academic treatise; it is given for the salvation of men, or “as many as the Lord our God shall call,” to quote Acts 2.39. It is not given so that we can necessarily like what it says, but it is given so that we can accept what it says as having been divinely revealed – and that, unfortunately, includes the eternal damnation of some of our fellow men and women.

We need to call ourselves to account whenever we find ourselves rebelling against God’s truth – and that, admittedly, can be often enough. The temptation to cry out, !It’s not fair!” especially in connection with something like predestination, can be difficult to resist, but God is righteous, and we are not; God is Lord of all Creation, and we are not.

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Isaiah 28.9-13 – Charry Picking Scripture.

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