Isaiah 30:20-21 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
This passage deals with a touchy subject. We all need direction at times, but we aren’t always willing to receive it. Men in particular are famous for getting lost because they won’t ask for directions. God knows that in us better than we do ourselves, so He expresses guidance to us in various ways. Sometimes those aren’t a lot of fun! When we are stubborn (which is often enough) they can feel like adversity and affliction, as this passage mentions. The quicker we get a clue and do what the Lord is telling us, the less of that we have to endure. The statement about teachers not being hidden is somewhat mysterious. The Japanese, being rather more literal than the NIV, specifies “You will continue to see them.” I honestly don’t know what that means. However, the promise of direction at every turn is a welcome one for everyone who honestly seeks God. This passage is quoted on the base of a statue of a cadet at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia. Quite a few troubled young people have been straightened out by the ministry of that Baptist school, though not all of their students would fit in that category. This whole issue is echoed in Hebrews 12:1-12. We aren’t called to be “snowflakes,” but to accept responsibility for our actions and be accountable to God, seeking His direction and following it, knowing that His will is always the best possible course.
This has been an issue all my life, and will continue to be so until I stand before God’s throne. Sometimes I have followed God’s guidance and been blessed, and sometimes I have rebelled and had to endure adversity and affliction. As I deal with others as a pastor, I am amazed at God’s patience toward us all. Although we may feel that we would like to “wash our hands” of people who stress us out, God doesn’t do that with us. I need to be more aware of that, and in gratitude express His grace toward everyone. It is often easier for me to see the best course for someone else than it is for them to see it, or for me to see my own best course. I need to walk in full humility, knowing that any genuine wisdom I might have comes from God, and anything that originates with me is going to be wrong. I am to accept the teachers He provides and not shy away from being used as a teacher for others, so that His will may be done and the Body of Christ built up, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You have gifted me as a teacher, (Romans 12:6-8) with everything that involves. Help me be faithful in that, continually learning from You so that I may teach truth and not falsehood, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!