Has there ever been a time when you wished you could know what the future holds?

What big decisions are you facing right now?

  • Should I stay with this person? Or will they turn out, ten years from now, to be a bad choice?
  • Should I continue with my education, or should I get a job?
  • Is it better to take out a loan (for a car, a house, school, an appliance) or to buy what I can with what money I already have in the bank?
  • Should I take this job, or that one? Which will end up being the better job?
  • Should I home-school or send my kids to public school, or private school? What will the outcome be a year from now?
  • Should I invest in where I now live, paint, make repairs, or should I move to another place?

I am sure you can think of many more life decisions that are hard to make without knowing what lies ahead. So where do you go to find what you need to make these decisions?

God asks us to do the very thing we do not want to do. We want to know the end result ahead of time, so we can decide accordingly. But God says: Trust Me with the future and allow Me to guide you one step at a time.

Trying to control the future leads to anxiety, and trying to get around God leads to darkness.

Utter Darkness

King Ahaz had just heard that the king of Assyria was coming.

That was bad news.

I am Ashurbanipal king of the world, king of Assyria, British Museum | Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where would he, or the people, go to find out how to deal with that? God had given them a promise, to let them know the Lord  was with them. But apparently, the people wanted more than God’s promise.

When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter,…

Isaiah 8:19 (NRSV)

A medium is an intermediary between the physical and spiritual worlds. A spiritist calls up spirits of divination for protection, wisdom and healing.

In this twenty minute presentation, King Saul consulted a medium when every other avenue was shut off to him, to consult with the Lord

Just a cursory surf on the net shows there are tens of thousands of websites to consult mediums, spiritists, palm readers, tarot card interpreters, astrologists, angelology and so on. Yet the prophet Isaiah asked,

… should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Isaiah 8:19-20 (NRSV)

God, throughout scripture, has made God’s position plain on being involved in such activities. The Lord considers it abomination, spiritual prostitution, adultery; it defiles us. To be involved in it is to prompt God to turn God’s face away, it cuts us off from the intimacy of fellowship with the Lord, it provokes the Lord to anger.

Yet, it is not that there is no power in these things.

It is downright uncanny how accurate some of that stuff is. So, surfing the net, loneliness, desperate for answers, ignorant of the danger, wanting entertainment, having a fascination with the other world, you and I might hear people – might even hear ourselves – say

“It works” so it must be okay.

“It is fun, it is entertaining,” it surely is not that big a deal.

“Psychics help. They have answers.”

“People really do find power in it.”

And it is true that people find power in these dark sources. God did not say there is nothing to it.

Consulting other spirits, or observing planet alignments, seems like the kind of answer we can work with, and it is easier to get by than God. And no wonder, as the apostle Paul pointed out.

And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. 

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (NRSV)
This is the upper 1st (top) register, side A, of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. The king, surrounded by his royal attendants and a high-ranking official, receives a tribute from Sua, king of Gilzanu (north-west Iran), who bows and prostrates before the king. From Nimrud, northern Mesopotamia (Iraq). Neo-Assyrian period, 825 BCE. The British Museum, London.By Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42129532

But the occult world only appears innocent. It is actually dark, and evil, according to scripture.

[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The Lord Jesus Christ, John 8:44 (NRSV)

For our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Apostle Paul, Ephesians 6:12 (NRSV)

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James, brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church, James 4:7 (NRSV)

Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.

Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:8 (NRSV)
Royal lion hunt of King Ashurbanipal, Assyrian, from Nineveh, about 645 – 635 BCE (23) | Lawson G. Stone, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil.

Apostle John, 1 John 3:8 (NRSV)

That ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.

Revelation 12:9 (NRSV)

Instead, as the prophet Isaiah wrote,

Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning.

Isaiah 8:20 (NRSV)

The apostle John wrote on this same theme, saying God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” Then he added, If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” echoing Isaiah in this passage

If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

Isaiah 8:20 (NRSV)

Playing with darkness leads to deeper darkness.     

Living in Darkness

No good can come out of living a lie.

When God, who is the source of all truth, is left out, all the human mind is able to do is rearrange error.  

Any philosophy about life, any sophisticated education that is based on anything but God and God’s wisdom will eventually, inevitably, be futile, worthless, in the end. When we reject truth we only make room for more error.

A darkened mind, then, is like a person who is in a dark room, bumping into furniture and generally having to feel their way. Such a person might think they know their way around just like you and I think we know where everything is in our own home with the lights off. But in the dark, we end up bumping into familiar objects unexpectedly, we “forget” where stuff really is. With just a little error in calculation, we run into a wall instead of a door, we cross into another room before we know we got there, and so on.

That is the darkened mind fooled into thinking it can get around well enough. But its ability to love what is good, and to reject what is bad, goes badly off course.

The increased interest in the occult and paranormal today is evidence that people are searching for spiritual answers, yet sidestepping God and God’s wisdom. Isaiah described this stumbling in the dark thousands of years ago.

Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land …

Isaiah 8:21 (NRSV)

Isaiah went on to describe the consequences of being involved with darkness

… when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God.

Isaiah 8:21 (NRSV)
I am Ashurbanipal king of the world, king of Assyria, British Museum | Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I had to think about that for a while. Why curse God and blame God for every ill when a person was searching for answers somewhere else? Then I realized how suffering itself can warp our emotions and fog our thinking. Distressed, famished, stumbling in the dark, at some level people realize that if there is a God, then that God is certainly aware of their suffering and capable of easing it.

And when you and I are in that pit, it is sure hard to take responsibility for having got there in the first place.

Isaiah wrote that after cursing God—rejecting God, rejecting God’s wisdom, ways, and word,

Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Isaiah 8:22 (NRSV)

Jesus described such a place as weeping and gnashing of teeth.

To reject God, the source of all light and life, is to actually choose darkness and death.

5 thoughts on “Isaiah 8: Utter Darkness

  1. Thank you Sister/Professor Joanne for your absolute hitting the proverbial as well prophetic nail on its head in this article today! It actually was like I woke up and looked in my email messages to find the key I was in need of to take my waiting and contemplative prayers of the last few days to the final culmination or fruition. I had made a file which as I woke very early today I began to pray and ponder how I would connect what was in that file to some additional information which came to my attention yesterday, and then as soon as I read this article of yours the “Dark Forces Witchery” component was exactly what I was seeing in a video presentation I watched Saturday that somewhat mysteriously came to my attention just after I watched a short news clip and I know it had to be incorporated with the writing in that file I made a few days ago! I’m sure I’ll have more to say about all of this and your specific points you make here, but for now I’m leaving the link to the completed essay I wrote today, of course to first acknowledge the quoted material from your article again here, and then in hopes that some of what I get into regarding this overall subject, can be of some benefit to you and others! But in addition that, perhaps also if I stimulate any subsequent thought on any of the subject at hand; I’m certain you will appropriately respond in kind with needed documentation and insights as always here!

    God bless you and your family; and I know the amazing visit to the Holy Land is only just beginning to yield much needed inspiration and fruit!

    Thank you again.
    Brother in Christ Jesus,

    1. Thank you so.much for encouragement, brother in Christ Lawrence. You know with the words of God, we must talk about whatever comes next, especially when reading through a book of the Bible.

      God is so strong and unswerving on this topic. There was no other way to talk about it. To God be all the glory.

      Grace and peace to you brother, strong in the faith

      1. Oh you’re very welcome sister in Christ Joanne. But I hardly do anything as I see it, perhaps always having been a talker I might get thinking about what you wrote and then I expound upon it in a simple way by just speaking through writing the words that come to mind readily! But what I do hope and pray for, is that at least sometimes I’m speaking from not only my heart but via what the Holy Spirit conveys to my heart in accordance with my attempt to walk with Jesus; perhaps then I can really be inspired to accomplish our Father’s will.

        I really am the one here, that has a great debt of gratitude; which I must thank you for because of all the fine scholarly insights and knowledge you convey in your articles, that have more than just inspired me to say something, but have also actually helped to direct me in my desire to write anything of substantive or relative value on the subject at hand! Then most important is to learn what would please God, so that ultimately I’ve done something for Him, which He is very pleased with!

        And as I mentioned this writing of yours coincided perfectly for me as being even a “Godsend” I can say now; that helped to fuse together my writing from my feelings and thoughts on the particular subject I became acutely aware of over the last few days. Then maybe like peering into a microscope that was slightly out of focus but suddenly your article was the adjustment that turned the focus knob, bringing it all into sharp crystal clarity! For those few days I was anticipating a development and was somewhat at odds getting anxious, but, your presentation was obviously the answer being provided; of this I have no doubt!

        Thank you very much again!

  2. “When God, who is the source of all truth, is left out, all the human mind is able to do is rearrange error.” That is such a great quote. Thanks, Joanne – I might use it, but I’ll give credit to you 🙂

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