Speak smooth things – prophesy illusions

Speak smooth things – prophesy illusions

[They] say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions.” – Isaiah 30:10 – ESV

They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies.” – Isaiah 30:10 – NLT

2 Timothy 4:1-5

 1 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom:

 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

“Prophets of doom have always taken risks in terms of ridicule and humiliation. If you stand on a street corner holding up a sign that reads ‘The End Is Near,’ passersby will laugh and heckle. People will say you’re like Chicken Little, running around telling people the sky is falling” (Robert Kiyosaki).

People from all walks of life throughout the centuries have feared that one day, perhaps in their lifetime, the world would end. Those familiar with the Scriptures are aware of end time prophecy concerning Armageddon. How many of us have encountered “end of the worlders” walking about, holding signs reading, “The End Is Near.”

Such dark, fear-ridden messages are often ridiculed. But they are more likely taken to heart in times of great despair. However, such warnings are unpopular. And so it was with ancient Israel at the time of the invasion and conquest by the Assyrians.

“The prophetic message was frequently unwelcome, so prophets were often silenced by force or coercion (cf. Jeremiah). The view that a prophet predicted the future could easily morph to seeing the prophet as speaking the future into being, so silencing them could be seen as averting their dire predictions” (ZIBBC). The people of Israel are intent on suppressing the word of the Lord and blocking the Isaiah’s message.

Isaiah the prophet evaluates the sentiment and attitude of the people of Israel who rebelled against the Father.

Isaiah 30:9 these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the LORD’s instructions.

The Father weighs in. He speaks via His prophetic spokesman, Isaiah.

Isaiah 30:12-15

 12 This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies,

 13 calamity will come upon you suddenly – like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down.

 14 You will be smashed like a piece of pottery – shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.”

 15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”

The people did not want to hear the truth about how things really were. They were not interested in listening to what was right. “They want things which will leave the surface of life unruffled, a ministry of trifles; they did not want the direction or style of life (way . . . path) altered, and in particular they did not want to hear of a holy God living among them and exerting pressure on them (of Israel; see on 1:4)” (Motyer).

REFLECT & PRAY

“Smooth or pleasant things are equated with illusions and contrasted with what is right. The people only want to hear of blessing and prosperity” (Barry and Mangum).

Father enable and strengthen me to be open to hearing the Truth and following it. In this world, we will have tribulation, but the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).

INSIGHT

Isaiah 30:10 Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions.

The Hebrew word translated as smooth, flattering, pleasant, deceitful, or unreliable advice is chelqah. It refers to speech that is smooth or pleasant or intentionally deceitful or twisted.

The Hebrew word translated as illusions is derived from the Hebrew verb talal. Talal means to mock, deceive, or trifle with. The noun mahathallothhas a sense of lies, fallacies, or delusions. The people of Israel wanted to hear faulty fantasies and deceitful delusions rather than the sobering truth from the Holy One of Israel (NIDOTTE).

“They did not ask that preaching cease; only that it be innocuous, and without the absolutes of truth and morality which derive from the character of God” (Motyer). The people no longer wanted to hear the way things really were. “What they prefer are the pleasant things and the illusions that the false prophets (those who seek to please man rather than God) willingly offer (cf. Jeremiah 6:13-14; Micah 3:5)” (Briley).

How ironic. “These people are, in effect, demanding to be deceived by false assurances. This desire to optimistically believe that the love and grace of God will somehow make everything work out well in the end” (Gary V. Smith).

This is what the false prophets among them had prophesied. The false prophets were only interested in pleasing man rather than God.

The false prophets were “smooth talkers.” Today they would be called a spin doctor. Spin doctors in modern times work to ensure a pleasant and acceptable point of view is spun.

The phrase “spin doctor” was first used in print in October 1984 in the New York Times editorial about the aftermath of the televised debate between US presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. Donald Regan, former White House chief of staff, was informally known as the Director of Spin Control. In US politics, “spin” is interpretation, the bias or slant put on information.

The people of Israel asked Isaiah to spin his words to make them more palatable and acceptable. They become like the classic cliché of monkeys that hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil by covering their ears, eyes, and mouths.

Some people literally cover their ears to block the message. But there are more subtle ways that often happen unconsciously. “Instead of covering the ear, adults block what they hear by touching the ear, pulling it, holding it, rubbing it, scratching it or the area around it- the side whiskers or the cheek. If they’re wearing an earring, they may fiddle with it or pull it” (psychmechanics.com).

Sadly, the 21st century is characterized by people unwilling to hear the Truth.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

Regardless, the children of the King should continue to proclaim His message.

2 Timothy 4:2,5

 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

We are to Preach the Word! The seal of Dallas Theological Seminary is inscribed with these words in Greek: Kerusson ton logon.

Biblical Truth is absolute. As such, it cannot be synthesized or compromised.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

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