Isaiah 30:20-22 “The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide Himself any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’ Then you will defile your silver plated idols and your gold plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, and call them filth.” (HCSB)
We only have to exist in ourselves for two minutes to realize that we have issues with idolatry. We worship anything and everything which is not God most easily and quickly. For the Christian this is our great struggle if we are honest with ourselves. At the end of these verses we see something wonderful and that wonderful thing is that believers are described as throwing away their idols and seeing them as disgusting. The question that has to be asked is how are we going to participate in this wonderful throwing away of idols? Are we going to tell ourselves over and over to love God and not idols? Are we going to shame one another about the stupidity and wickedness of worshipping things besides God? Brothers and sisters, what we need in order to see the ugliness of our idols is a sight in the heart of how superior is our lovely Jesus over all else! No! As much as we think these things are useful to bring us to worship they are about as useless as telling kids who love eating things off of the floor to love eating at the table. Look at what the Lord does for us, in verse 20 it says that we will eat meager bread and water during oppression. Meaning that the first step to hating our idols is by God allowing us to experience the emptiness and misery of pursuing idols. It says that our teacher, Jesus, will not hide Himself any longer which means that at times, beloved Christian, Jesus will hide Himself from us. Have you ever considered this? That right now you feel empty and miserable and depressed because God is giving you the meager bread and water of pursuing idols? Have you ever thought of this as an expression of Christ’s love for you? If Christ is your great treasure and the most delightful thing in existence then He in His love will depart from you for a time and let you feel how empty the other things you are pursuing are. How wonderful is this!
But notice that after a time of us experiencing emptiness the Lord returns. It says that our eyes will see our Teacher; this is not a sight with the physical eyes but it is a sight of the eyes of your heart with the eyes of faith. How are you going to throw away your idols? It is by the Lord showing you how wonderful He is in your moments of despair, you need to see your Teacher! Brothers and sisters, we do not need more calls to worship what we need is to see with the eyes of our heart how lovely our Master is! How beautiful are sunrises after the night, how wonderful the spring after the winter, how wonderful the sunshine after the days of rain, and yes, how wonderful having a fresh encounter with the Lord Himself after having seasons of misery due to our pursuit of other things. How wonderful is the day when we make up with our spouses and friends after fighting and yes how wonderful it is to see and enjoy with our eyes the beauty of Jesus after seeing nothing but vanity for a season. Brothers and sisters, what we need in order to see the ugliness of our idols is a sight in the heart of how superior is our lovely Jesus over all else!
But there is more! Notice it says that because we are seeing the beauty of Jesus we are hearing him speak to us! Beloved we can hear His tender voice because we are now seeing Him anew with fresh eyes. Jesus does not merely save us from our pursuit of idols by showing us His beauty but by walking with us in life and telling us about Himself in love. We need daily the fresh manna of His love in order to walk in love. And what is He saying to us? “This is the way. Walk in it.” How does this sound to us in light of Jesus being the way the truth and the life? It sounds like this. When we are seeking to find purpose and delight in loving something else Jesus says, “I am the only Person who can satisfy your soul and I am fully available to you now and forevermore, this is the way, walk in it.” When we feel that we cannot go where He is calling us to go Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches and you now live in and through Me, this is the way, walk in it.” When we feel paralyzed to walk due to fear of tripping and not walking well, He says, “I love you perfectly because I already see you as perfect because I lived perfectly for you and died fully for your imperfections; this is the way, walk in it, nothing you do will change that.” Is not this wonderful? Jesus does not shame and beat us into submission and to worship Him as we tend to do to one another and do to ourselves; no He leads us in tender love with winsome words moving our affections toward Him. So, again how do we become those who hate our idols and throw them away with holy passion? It is this way, my beloved brothers and sisters, by seeing the loveliness of your Teacher after your moments of spiritual drought and misery and then hearing His tender loving voice reminding you of what is true about being in an eternal love relationship with Him. Glorious!