10 Because Yahveh has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and he has shut your eyes (the prophets) and he has covered your heads(the seers). 11 And this whole vision has become for you like words in a sealed document. When they give it to one who can read a document, saying, “Recite this!” He says, “I cannot, because it is sealed.” 12 And when the document is given to someone who cannot read, saying, “Recite this now!” he says, “I cannot read a document! 13 And the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with its mouth, and with its lips it honors me, and its heart is far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men that has been taught, 14 for this reason, see, I am again doing something spectacular and a spectacle with this spectacular people. And the wisdom of its wise men will disappear, and the discernment of its discerning ones will keep itself hidden.”
Penny and I recently had a meeting with a missions consultant, who was bringing us up to speed on what was happening in an Asian country he had just visited. While there, he had been in a planning meeting with a mission, who had printed out a detailed budget for their organization, and went over each line with him. But he was in need of a translator, who could read each line, and tell him what each line said. Then, he wrote that English translation in the margins beside each line, so he could report it with us. Without those translated notes, the document would have been meaningless to us.
That was essentially the role of prophets in Isaiah’s day. They were the translators, serving as the eyes and ears of God’s people, explaining what God wanted, and letting the people know when they were straying from God’s standards. But, since the society had rebelled, their prophets had ceased to do that. God’s word and will had become an unreadable document. God was about to do something amazing, but Judah would be oblivious to it, because they could not read him. Their sin had made them theologically illiterate.
LORD, restore our sight and hearing. We confess that our sinful lives have made us incapable of understanding your word, and discerning your will. Restore us, so that we can bring our societies back from the darkness.