“. . . therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” (Isaiah 29:14, ESV)
When I was a charismatic it was common to take Bible verses out of context in order to preach health, wealth and blessings to a people who were frustrated by life, weary and downtrodden. I often heard sermons and prayers that took portions of Isaiah 29 out of context to suit what the preacher, teacher, “prophet”, “evangelist”, or “healer” wanted to say, particularly verse 14 coupled with 17-19. These words when spoken in a vigorous sermon or prayer sound as if God is about to bestow a spectacular blessing. Yet they occur in the context of words of judgment that will take place before the blessing. And the judgment is to fall not on Gentile pagans, but on the people of God. Though they kept the letter of the Law and made appropriate sacrifices and offerings, they behaved selfishly and did not extend love, mercy or compassion to their fellow man.
Unfortunately from my observations of churches and church life these days, this is still quite common. Such a practice is the result of lazy theology and pride. It is dangerous for it leads people astray. Christians seek to please themselves. They think they can keep the letter of the Law while neglecting the essence of the Law which is love. They do not extend compassion and mercy to the poor and downtrodden. Rather than help the lost, the sick, needy and helpless they glorify the celebrities, the mighty, the dynamic, the talented and the successful and aspire to be just like them as is such exalted status were a sign of God’s blessing. Surely the blessing will come after the judgment, but on God’s terms and by His work, not ours. We need the power of the Lord Jesus by His Spirit to love as God loves us.