Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Do not say ‘A confederacy!’ to all those to whom this people shall say, ‘A confederacy!’ ”
It is the tendency of the flesh to trust in some form of worldly strength rather than in the power of the Spirit of the Lord. One popular saying is that “there is strength in numbers.” This is not true when it comes to being judged by God. If every person on the planet rejects His Son, then every person on the planet will be damned. Solomon said it this way: “Though hand join in hand, the wicked will not be unpunished.” In other words, God is not impressed or to any extent influenced by numbers. “There is strength in numbers” is a platitude that applies only to earthly situations. Men are intimidated and influenced by numbers; not God.
Every generation has to learn this lesson anew. In Isaiah’s time, God’s children hoped that a confederacy with Egypt and other near-by nations would stave off the Assyrian threat. God was indignant that, instead of trusting in Him, His people resorted to trust in political alliances. Their reasoning was that if they could gather together a larger army than the Assyrians had, then they would be safe. They forgot that it was God who was sending the Assyrians to afflict Israel and Judah because of their sins.
God was angry when He warned Isaiah not to put his trust in alliances with foreign nations. He mocked the foolish among His people, and the nations they thought could help them, because they thought they could escape the wrath of God by combining their forces: “Associate yourselves, O ye people [the Israelites], and you shall be broken in pieces. And give ear, all you from distant countries! Gird yourselves [for battle], and you shall be broken in pieces. Gird yourselves, and you shall be broken in pieces! Take counsel together, and it shall come to nothing! Speak the word, and it shall not stand! Because God is with us [who trust in Him]” (Isa. 8:9-10).
Then Isaiah communicates some of “the terror of the Lord” he must have felt when God sternly warned him not to be like those who were calling for an alliance with the heathen nations. “For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying [to me], ‘Do not say, “A confederacy!” ’ to all them [the heathen] to whom this people shall say, ‘A confederacy!’. Neither fear what they fear, or be afraid. Honor the LORD of hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread ” (Isa. 8:11-13).
“Safety”, said David, “is of the LORD.” And again, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of our God.” There is no safety in numbers when God’s wrath is provoked. The greatest armaments of the earth, taken all together, are less to Him than a stone thrown by an angry child. Those armaments intimidate only those who belong to the earth, and only those who are of the earth trust in them for safety.
It is foolish to put one’s trust in numbers. Whether the issue be national security or personal spiritual issues. After all, didn’t Jesus tell us that the way into eternal life would be found by only a few? Then why should we yield to the temptation to reject a doctrine because only a few people believe it? I teach that Christianity is of the Devil. I say that Jesus taught that truth to me. Will you seek to hide among the ranks of millions who do not believe me, comforting yourself with the sure knowledge that there are millions of others like you? God knows who has heard His voice and who has not.
Always remember, “Safety is of the Lord.” This means that wise men put their hope in what truly comes from the Lord, regardless of how many other people do not. God has never called His people to an alliance of some sort; on the contrary, He demands that His people “come out” of the vain confederacies, alliances, denominations, and other associations of man and put every ounce of their confidence in Him.