Scripture Focus: Isaiah 7.10-13
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also?

Reflection: Proof-Texting Prophets
By John Tillman

Trouble was brewing. Enemies were rising. The nation of Judah, Jerusalem, and David’s throne were under threat. While Ahaz was sending out feelers to earthly allies, Isaiah came to the wicked king with a word from the Lord. The first part was encouraging. “…don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart.” (Isaiah 7.4) The second part was a warning. “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7.9)

Even bad kings, like Ahaz, get a chance to turn to God.

The prophet asked the king to select a sign to prove his words true. Ahaz refused. To excuse himself, Ahaz used a “proof text,” quoting Deuteronomy 6.16, “I will not put God to the test.” Isaiah was not impressed with Ahaz’s “proof-texting.” He considered it insulting to him and to God.
Instead of “O King” or using Ahaz’s name, Isaiah calls him the “house of David,” prophesying that his political machinations would fail. A plague of flies would come from Egypt to Judah. (Isaiah 7.18) The plagues that humbled Pharoah would humble Ahaz. Pharoah refused to repent and the plagues escalated to destruction. Ahaz refused to repent, moving David’s house one step closer to exile.

God’s Word may be misquoted, taken out of context, or twisted. Many, like Ahaz, twist it to excuse themselves from doing as God commands. Proof-texting is a bad way to build a faith. It’s also a bad way to deconstruct one. It is still true for us today that if we do not stand firm in our faith, we will not stand at all. Understanding the Bible holistically, within the community of believers, can help us avoid most errors but we still need to be humble and teachable, receptive to human critique and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

The Bible is true whether we believe it or not and whether we obey it or not. Human errors do not mean God’s Word is in error. Sin is still sin, regardless of whether we use scripture to justify it. God is God regardless of how prideful or arrogant we become.

We all have moments of grace and opportunities for repentance. So consider soberly…

Have you adopted Ahaz’s habits? Are you marshaling earthly resources for spiritual battles? Are you using scriptures as excuses for not obeying God’s clear commands? Are you proof-texting prophets? Are you trying the patience of humans or God? Or both?

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us. — Psalm 67.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Isaiah 7 (Listen 3:51)
Psalm 103 (Listen 2:07)

Read more about Rumors or Repentance
So what do powerful figures do when a prophet is making them look bad? They lie about him. 

Read more about More Important Matters
The Pharisees had a kind of orthopraxy ADHD…they ignored the more important things by pursuing less important things with hyperfixation.