“Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel …” (Isaiah 30:12)
In one of the most ironic interchanges in scripture, Isaiah had quoted the people of Israel in Isaiah 30:11 as saying, “Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” Evidently, Isaiah had used this term for God repeatedly in his messages to the sinful people of Israel, but they were tired of hearing it. It is not hard to imagine them groaning: “Not THAT term again!” They wanted no more of it. “Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
And no wonder. They did not have much of a spiritual appetite. God says of them in :12 that “you have rejected this word, and have put your trust in oppression and guile.” They were not walking with God, and they had no desire to hear about His holiness. This is a good reminder to us today, by the way, that “congregational surveys” about what a pastor should preach on are not always wise. When a people is not spiritual, they have no idea what God’s word to them should be. II Timothy prophesies that in the last days, people will want to have their ears tickled, and will accumulate teachers according to their own desires.
Israel was like that in Isaiah’s day. The holiness of God was a tiresome theme to them, and they wanted to hear no more of it. But that didn’t stop the Lord. In fact, His response to them in :12 is classic: “Therefore thus says THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL”! God thrust this theme right back in their collective face. They did not want to hear about His holiness, but holy is Who He Is, and they were going to get more of it. Verse 15 brought more of the same: “For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel has said …”.
A people does not always want what they really need. A poll in Sodom might have indicated that they didn’t want any preaching on homosexuality, or pride, but that did not change God’s righteous standards. In the same way, we need to be careful today when we talk about “the kind of preaching we want.” Make sure you don’t just want your ears tickled, your pet hobby horse rocked, and your sin left well enough alone. If God’s man is truly preaching His word, it may be just the word that you don’t want to hear!