This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Long ago my people chose to live in Egypt. Now they are oppressed by Assyria. What is this?” asks the Lord. “Why are my people enslaved again? Those who rule them shout in exultation. My name is blasphemed all day long. But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”
I see something in this verse this morning. The name of God is blasphemed when we are ruled by other lords, enslaved by other masters. It is because His lordship, His leadership produces His likeness in us and makes us a reflection of Him. When we are ruled by other influences, motivations, when other things animate our lives, we are reflecting their “glory”, or our lives are a testimony to these other things.
We are created to bear the glory of God, but we often reflect the glory of other things, far inferior to our calling to bear His glory. This is detailed a little in Romans 1, where it says that we traded the glory of God (which we are called to bear, to walk in, to reflect) for the glory of man, of animals, and unnatural things which defile their hosts in a terrible downward spiral. If we look around us with our illuminated eyes, we can see this happening everywhere. The glory of this age is fading. The darkness these lower lords and demons seek to bring upon us (by influencing and animating our lives and actions) is also a destructive end, which the Lord doesn’t desire for us, and in fact has died to save us from.
We can also see the answer to these other influences in these verses from Isaiah 52. Here it is! The Lord will reveal His name to us, we will come to know it’s power, and we will then recognize His voice. By means of recognizing His voice we will also be able to discern these other influences as strange, foul, and destructive. If we cannot recognize His voice, we mistake other spiritual influences as the voice of the Lord. I see this happen a lot with believers. Sometimes it seems that any voice from the spiritual realm is thought to be the Lord. Let’s be careful not to make this mistake.
First John tells us not to believe every spirit (voice from the spiritual realm), but to try (test) the spirits, to see if they are from God or not. This mistake alone causes a large percentage of the darkness done in the name of the Lord. We have to grow past this, and be committed, not only to hearing the Lord’s voice, but to trying, testing and evaluating the voices that we hear before we run out and say “the Lord said this to me” and also before we run out and take action without discretion.
If we are to proclaim His name with our lives (bearing His glory, reflecting His likeness), we must grow in our ability to hear His voice clearly, and also to sort out and discard other voices that are attempting to influence us toward other ends. Not every voice comes from the Holy Spirit. Take a look at the outcomes that are produced, and judge these voices by their fruit. By this means you can sort out what really “came over you” to influence your behavior. Resist the urge to defend yourself and / or to appear as if you are beyond this error. We are all being trained, growing, getting better at following the Lord, proclaiming His name, and bearing His glory!