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Isaiah 8:19-20 meaning...

This passage from the book of Isaiah addresses the folly of seeking guidance from sources other than God and emphasizes the importance of turning to God's Word for true wisdom. 

  • The verses present a vivid contrast between two types of consultations:

Consulting Those with Familiar Spirits and Wizards: The mention of consulting those with familiar spirits, wizards, and those who chirp and mutter refers to engaging in occult practices. This could include seeking guidance from mediums, engaging in divination, or consulting spiritual entities apart from God.

Consulting God: Isaiah poses a rhetorical question, highlighting the irony of seeking guidance from sources other than God when God is readily available. The implied answer is that people should consult their God, the living and true God.

  • Turning to God's Law and Testimony

Isaiah instructs the people to turn to God's law and testimony as the ultimate source of wisdom and guidance.

God's Law: Refers to the revealed commandments and principles given by God, particularly through the Mosaic law. Turning to God's law implies seeking guidance in alignment with divine principles.

Testimony: This likely refers to the broader body of divine revelation, including prophetic messages and God's testimonies of His character and will. The testimony serves as a reliable witness to God's truth.

  • Criteria for Truth and Wisdom

The passage establishes a clear criterion for evaluating the authenticity of guidance and wisdom:

Alignment with God's Word: Isaiah asserts that if the advice or message does not align with God's law and testimony, there is no morning for them. This metaphor suggests a lack of light or understanding, indicating the absence of true wisdom.

Morning Symbolism: Morning often symbolizes clarity, enlightenment, and the arrival of a new day. The absence of morning, in this context, signifies a lack of illumination or understanding when guidance is not in accordance with God's Word.

Relevance for Today

Discernment in Spiritual Matters: The passage encourages discernment in spiritual matters, cautioning against seeking guidance from sources that do not align with God's revealed truth.

Primacy of God's Word: The emphasis on turning to God's law and testimony underscores the enduring importance of Scripture as the ultimate source of divine wisdom and guidance.


Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." This verse from the Psalms reinforces the idea of God's Word as a guiding light in our lives.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." This New Testament passage highlights the comprehensive role of Scripture in guiding believers.

Conclusion: Isaiah 8:19-20 serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of seeking guidance from God and aligning one's life with His revealed truth. The contrast between consulting occult practices and turning to God's law and testimony underscores the timeless principles of discernment and reliance on the divine wisdom found in Scripture.

As believers navigate life's decisions, may Isaiah's words prompt a commitment to consult the living God and rely on His unchanging Word for true wisdom and guidance.

Isaiah 8:19-20. When they tell you, “Consult with those who have familiar spirits and with the wizards, who chirp and who mutter:” shouldn’t a people consult with their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? Turn to the law and to the testimony!


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