“You Turn Things Upside Down!” ( Isaiah 29: 16, ESV ) by Carley Evans

“And the Lord says, ‘Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men perishes, and the discernment of their discerning men is hidden.'” (Isaiah 29:13-14)

God says we follow Him with our speech while not with our hearts; we are in awe of Him only because we have been told to be by our spiritual leaders; therefore He is doing “wonderful things, with wonder upon wonder.” He seems amused that we try to “hide deep from the Lord” both our counsel and our deeds; that we pretend He is unable to see or know us.

“You turn things upside down!”

I Am the potter; you are the clay. “Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or the thing formed say of Him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:16)

Rather than reacting with anger, God says: “In that day the deaf hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind see. The meek obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind exult in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 29:18-19) “And those who go astray in spirit come to understanding, and those who murmur accept instruction.” (Isaiah 29:24) No longer are we ashamed and pale faced. Instead, we “sanctify His Name and stand in awe of the God of Israel” (Isaiah 29:23) not because someone in authority tells us we must. Rather, we know we are clay and He is the Master Potter. We trust His hands and His skill. We recognize how we have turned things upside down, and how God uprights.

“The Prophet Of The Most High” (Luke 1: 76 – 77, ESV) by Carley Evans

Zechariah sings first to God and then to his unborn son. He sings a song first of praise, then of delight. He sings of joy that his own child will be “called the prophet of the Most High,” and predicts his son “will go before the Lord to prepare His ways.”

John will preach “knowledge of salvation.” He will tell of  “the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 78 – 79)

John when he has grown into a man sends two messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus, after healing many, answers: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” (Luke 7: 20, 22 – 23)

Before they leave, Jesus asks John’s messengers, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ I tell you among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7: 24 – 28)