11 For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, 12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13 “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. 14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Isaiah 8:11-14
The prophet Isaiah describes the Lord getting his attention about not going along the with the conspiracy theorists of the people around him. The Message paraphrase puts it this way: “God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands…’Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them. Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries. If you’re going to worry, worry about The Holy”. The only reason God would have to say this to Isaiah is because he was slowly slipping into the thinking of the people around him. When life is hard, it seems God is hiding His face, trials are plenty and relief is far from us it gets easy to think God is out to get us! The conclusion is to see all that is wrong in our lives as coming from God and to fear for our very futures. This puts us at direct odds with the One, the only one, who can and who wants to cover and carry us through hard times. If we buy into the conspiracy theory that God is not for us, but against us then we will inevitably find ourselves dead set against Him. Is God a sanctuary or a snare to you? Is God a hiding place or hindrance to you? Is God a stepping stone or a stumbling block to you? The answer to these questions depend on whether or not we have bought into the prevalent lie in the cultural conspiracy theory: “If God even exists, He sure doesn’t care about what happens to us.”
Conspiracy theories can be fun! Area 51 and the alien cover up, the moon landings were faked, Elvis is alive and other such popular theories populate pop culture. I have a conspiracy theory about the addictive algorithm of the Frozen soundtrack and the coming Zombie apocalypse, but I won’t get into that right now. These kind of discussions can be fun, but if we buy into the fear and worry of our culture around us that God is against us, there’s nothing funny about that. If we are honest, we all have bought into this lie at one level at one time or another. As with Isaiah, it happens with us slowly and subtly. For instance, my son Aden was really looking forward to joining with the other youth groups yesterday for a traveling mission outreach around Kona. They were going to serve smaller local churches who didn’t have resources or manpower to make improvements on their properties for the next four days. We had talked about how this was going to be a good way to start in his calling here in Kona and his ultimate calling to be a missionary. So, when he woke up with the stomach flu the night before he was supposed to leave he couldn’t understand why God would let this happen. He was going to do this great thing for God and now he had to miss out on the whole thing. What gives? We’ve all been there. Maybe some of us are there right now. I talked with Aden about how it definitely wasn’t fair and his disappointment and frustration were certainly justified. We also talked about how God didn’t make him sick and that sickness and disappointment were a part of living on this planet. We would pray for healing and perhaps see it happen, but the only place without all of that heartache was heaven and we weren’t there yet. I told him I didn’t know what God was up to, but that God had an amazing plan for him that didn’t involve this particular missions trip. Did this make his stomach feel better? No. Was he still sad about missing the missions trip? Yep. What was the point of the conversation then? Simply to destroy the theory that God was conspiring against him to keep him from having fun or doing what he enjoys. We all need to stop and ask ourselves if we have given in to this conspiracy theory based on circumstantial evidence and popular opinion. We, like Isaiah, must “gather up the testimony, preserve the teaching for my followers, while I wait for God as long as he remains hiding, while I wait and hope for him. I stand my ground and hope, I and the children God gave me as signs to Israel, warning signs and hope signs from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who makes his home in Mount Zion.” (Isaiah 8:16-18)
Forgive me for the times I have turned on You because I have bought in to the lie that You had turned on me. Ever since the subtle suggestion of the snake in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve that God was holding out on them I have all fallen for it over and over again! You are for me and not against me. I am Yours and You are mine! You cannot love me more and You cannot love me less then You do right now. The sacrifice of Your only Son on the Cross for my sins. The resurrection of Your Son Jesus conquering Sin, Death, and Hell. The Holy Spirit that resides in me and empowers me for living. The Holy Scripture that I read today and guides my every step. These proofs conquer conspiracy theories about You every single time! Thank You for conspiring to love me no matter what!