Turning Things Upside Down

Posted on February 29, 2012 by Rob Barkman

Have you ever heard the phrase “putting the cart before the horse”; or, how about “closing the gate after the horse has bolted”? Both of these phrases are saying basically the same thing, they are describing putting things in the wrong order.

Another phrase meaning something similar is the phrase “turning things upside down”. This phrase is speaking of getting the obvious order of things confused and mixed up.

Let’s take time to see how the people of Judah were “turning things upside down”….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Isa 29:13-16 (KJV)

13) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

14) Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.

15) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

16) Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

Isa 45:9-10

Jer 18:1-10

Rom 9:19-21

THE STUDY:

In our text (Isa 29:13-16), we find that the people of Judah were trying to hide their true inward motivations…

Isa 29:13-16 (KJV)

13) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

They were living pious, religious lives but did not love, nor reverence, God in their hearts (vs13).

14) Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.

They thought they were hiding this from God and that they were wise in doing so (vs 14).

15) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Secretly, they lived in opposition to the desires of God for their lives (vs 15).

16) Surely your turning of things upside down

The Lord is confronting them in verse 16, as He states that “Surely (truly), your turning things upside down…” In other words, He clearly declares they have taken that which was obvious and mixed it all up.

It was obvious God knows all things, including the condition of their hearts. It was obvious the Lord did not desire outward, hypocritical obedience. It is obvious that they were exhibiting foolishness and a lack of knowledge of the True God. It was obvious that they were ignorant of all these truths. They were “turning things upside down”.

Just like the people of Judah in the OT, the Pharisees of the NT times hypocritically served the Lord as well. (Matt 23:23-33, Matt 6:1-8). In today’s time there is no difference. We still have to be on the lookout that we are serving the Lord from a pure heart of love and submission to His will and ways. (Luke 10:25-28). This is the only way we can avoid following in the footsteps of the people of Judah and the Pharisees.

But there is more that we can learn from our text…

shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

What they were doing is much like a piece of potter’s clay complaining to the potter about how it was shaped and formed. Talk about being mixed up! What right does a lump of clay have to complain to its maker? Absolutely none!

This applies to each of us as creatures of the Lord. The Lord is our Creator… because of this, He has a right to make us as He will and to plan a life for us of His good pleasure. The basic principles of our Creator’s Lordship and Sovereignty over us are spoken of throughout the OT and NT Scriptures…

Isa 45:9-10Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! [Let] the potsherd [strive] with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto [his] father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Jer 18:1-10The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make [it]. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay [is] in the potter’s hand, so [are] ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. [At what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy [it]; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And [at what] instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant [it]; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

Rom 9:19-21Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

WHEN WE RECOGNIZE THE LORD IS OUR CREATOR, WE ARE RECOGNIZING WE ARE UNDER HIS AUTHORITY AND SOVEREIGN RULE OVER OUR LIVES. This is an extremely important principle… by recognizing His Creatorship we are automatically recognizing His authority over us!

This is why Satan is trying for the world to accept the false teaching of evolution as truth. By our believing evolution, God’s position as Creator and, by implication, His authority over us is denied.

To believe in evolution is to be in denial of the literal interpretation of God’s Word and the basic attributes of Almighty God. (John 1:1-3, Gen 1:1, Heb 1:10-12)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

We are to always remember that we are our Lord’s possession in two ways. Our Creator (the Lord Jesus Christ) has given us our physical life (at conception) and our spiritual life (when He purchased us on the cross). As such, we are under His two-fold authority and should be willing to give our all to Him… (words in italics – my insertions):

1Cor 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (given to us at our physical creation) , and in your spirit (purchased on the cross), which are God’s.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

Keep in mind, your physical existence is the result of our Lord’s work of creation (which was begun at conception in your mother’s womb). Because of this, you are under the authority of Almighty God.

What is your first responsibility to please and serve Him? Recognizing the sin that is in your life is hateful to God. And then, based on a heart of sorrow, turn from your sins.

Come before the Lord with a spirit of humility, knowing that you can do nothing to secure His forgiveness and deliverance form your sins. Come, knowing that He only can bring salvation to you. Trust in His work on the cross as the basis of your forgiveness and deliverance. Accept His forgiveness. Live your life for Him, realizing what great things He has done for you.

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area. They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com. I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”. On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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