Today’s post is lengthy. Please don’t avoid it. It’s probably the most important post I’ve ever written.
While reading Isaiah 27 (please read it) last week, I came to verse 11 and in the New American Standard Bible -1995 update, the word “discernment” jumped off the page at me. In this chapter’s context, God is speaking of judgment to come on Judah for transgressing the covenant God had made with them. They had forsaken Him, played the spiritual harlot, disobeyed His word. In His righteousness, God has to judge sin, folks. Like it or not, He does what He says He will do. In verse 11 of Isaiah 27 we read,
“When its (Judah’s) limbs are dry, they are broken off; women come and make a fire with them, for they are not a people of discernment, therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them. And their Creator will not be gracious to them.”
What does all this mean, you ask? Well, hear me out and of course, pick up your Bible and read it in yours, too.
Dry and broken limbs –
The fruitful vine God planted has not been fruitful. The branches are now dry and broken. What do you do with dry and broken branches? Use them for kindling. They are worth nothing more than that because they are dead and unproductive (for God, in this case).
Who are these limbs? The people of Judah.
What is a dry limb? One that is dead, not bearing fruit. Look at Isaiah 5 and you’ll see more about this unfruitful vine, Judah.
Why are these limbs dry? These limbs are dry and unfruitful, because they are not discerning.
Here’s the gist of today’s question for you. How does a limb become unfruitful and dry? How do you and I become people who lack discernment?
What is discernment according to this passage? According to my Complete Word Study Dictionary, Old Testament, “discernment” is a noun meaning, “understanding, comprehension, discernment, righteous action… it carries strong moral and religious connotations. A lack of this kind of understanding was morally culpable and resulted in sin and even drove away God’s compassion for persons who did not have it. Happily, understanding as a moral or religious entity can be acquired (Prov. 4:5, 7) and even increased (Isa. 29:24) by seeking after it diligently. ”
Eventually, this leads back to the knowledge that we are to have knowledge of the Holy One so that we can discern right from wrong, truth from lie, life from death, righteousness from unrighteousness.
This gets us all the way back to Friday’s post on knowing Him by being in His Word!
Back to that question, though. How do you and I become people who lack discernment and who will ultimately not receive compassion from God? The answer is quite simple, really. If you want to be one who lacks discernment of things of God, then don’t obey Him, ignore Him and His Word, live as you want to live, don’t worry about what He says but rather do as you please and as lost man tells you to live. Put yourself first and God last if He has any place at all in your life.
Can you be a “good” person and still lack discernment? Yes. Good people don’t please God. Those who obey God please God. Don’t know what to do to please God? Get into His Word. Are you realizing that in and of yourself you can’t please Him because you are not perfect? Good! You’re right! That’s why you need a Savior and God in His perfect goodness made a way for you to be saved. You need Jesus, the Savior that God provided for you! (John 3:16; Acts 4:10-12; John 14:6).
Have you discerned this? It’s not too late. Apart from discerning Who God is and Who you need, you are as separated from life with Christ as you can be.
I read a book by Debbie Alsdorf entitled, Deeper, a couple of years ago. In those pages she recounts a story about her grandmother who lay dying and spoke these words regarding life with Christ, “Live like it’s real, because it is.”
Christ is real. Live your life like it’s real because it is. If you are discerning enough to have your spirit within you pick up something here today that is not quite right in your soul regarding your own life and your own eternity, I beg you to stop and look into the Scriptures that have been referenced today.
You have your whole life before you to discern if God’s Word is true and if it’s real. The only problem with this philosophy is that none of us knows how long our lives will be. Recently, my own mortality has stared me in the face and I have such a peace about whatever God has in store for me with my life.
My peace comes from Him. I have a real relationship with Him where I discerned what He said in His Word was true regarding Jesus’ virgin birth, sinless life, ministry, atoning death by crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
Please, please, do not enter this Holy Week without truly examining yourself and where you stand in relationship to God through Jesus Christ.
Don’t you want that discernment that prompts compassion from God? It’s available. You just have to ask for it and then move into a real relationship with Jesus Christ.