Isaiah 28:9-11 (ESV)
“To whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk,
those taken from the breast?
For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”
For by people of strange lips
and with a foreign tongue
the LORD will speak to this people,
This is a fascinating chapter. The people of God were more interested in self-satisfaction, partying, and play than they were in hearing God, yet God will be heard. To whom will he speak? To children and foreigners. He will communicate his truth patiently, persistently, and progressively to those and through those whom the people of God would never expect. People don’t listen to children and foreigners, yet those are the ones God will use.
It is interesting that Jesus did not choose disciples from the spiritual elite. He chose them from the uneducated blue-collar workers of his day. He chose fishermen. He chose them from the dangerous political extremists of his day. He chose Simon the Zealot. He chose them from among the unethical social traitors of his day. He chose Matthew, the tax collector. Why did he chose these men rather than those well trained in theology and practice? There are probably several reasons, but a key reason is that they were teachable. The Scribes and Pharisees were comfortable in their own self-righteousness. They were not willing to learn from Jesus. They were more interested in making sure he fit neatly into their own religious boxes.
It is no different today. We are comfortable with our religion. We are comfortable with our self-righteous legalism. We are comfortable with our neat, clearly delineated boxes that define who is in and who is out, who is righteous and holy, and who is not, who we can listen to and who to avoid. In the process, we become more and more fascinated by minutiae of religious or textual detail, but fail to meet God in the text or the ceremony.
Our faith has become about us. And so, God chooses to use people we would never expect in order to accomplish his mission. He uses a recovering addict who presents the gospel all wrong. He uses a child who has no understanding of orthodox theology. He uses a socially awkward individual to express God’s love and truth. And we don’t get why he is not using us.
What if we listened like we really cared what God has to say, rather than simply justifying our own self-righteousness? What if we were more interested in being conformed to the image of God’s Son (see Rom 8:29), than in enjoying our wealth? What if we were more interested in glorifying God than in experiencing peace and prosperity? What difference might that make? Hmm, maybe we should try it. God will speak, but will he speak through us?