A couple weeks ago in my post about reading the Bible, I recommended journaling. I’m currently studying 1 John and will write a series of Closer Look posts leading to Easter. Until then, I’ll share from my devotional reading of Isaiah.
Isaiah 30 is typical of most biblical prophecy, in that it describes God’s attitude toward his people Israel, what punishment their adultery warrants, and how he will redeem them.
“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the LORD. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade.” —Isaiah 30:1-2 NLT
How sadly ironic that God’s people are looking for refuge from their enemies, a refuge in Egypt. God had rescued them dramatically from murderous Pharaoh and now generations later they’re looking for protection, whose help God says is “worthless and empty” (verse 30).
Even as they look to Egypt, God continues to beckon them to his refuge.
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!” —Isaiah 30:15-16 NLT
Yet God is patient. He will not force his people to obedience. Like a Father he waits patiently to show compassion and forgive sin.
So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. —Isaiah 30:18-20 NLT
God will be my teacher. I love that! He’s like a personal tutor, who can give me undivided attention.
This is from my journal:
When I work on the car, I wish I had someone to help me understand. When I do some home repairs, I wish I had someone to show me how. In music, I’ve reaped the benefits of a good teacher. With guitar, though, I’ve been on my own. (It would probably be good to look into some lessons.)
What a wonderful thing to know that God will be my teacher. Though I present myself to be taught by others whether in church or through podcasts, books, or commentaries, primarily I’m still presenting myself to the Holy Spirit to illuminate Scripture for me.
Isaiah has not been as attractive a read as my more recently completed plan of reading the non-Pauline epistles [Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, etc.], but I’ve learned quite a bit and am trying to implement what I’ve learned. I think of music and realize that just learning about music, how to play a chord or scale, would be pointless unless there’s a plan to use it. It’s not like learning algebra. When do I ever use that?
Thank you, my Teacher, for how you open up Scripture for me. In thinking about my resolutions blog posts, specifically the one about reading the Bible, I pray that others would present themselves to you as your students and that they’d gain valuable, practical knowledge—not the kind that puffs up, but the kind that leads to great wisdom in life. I pray you would continue to do the same thing for me, as I approach you with an open mind and open heart.
Jesus was, of course, very often referred to as Rabbi (or teacher). I’m going to write some posts later this year about Jesus as a Rabbi.
I encourage you as you open up the Bible to invite the Holy Spirit to teach you, that you’ll see him with spiritual eyes.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. —Ephesians 1:18
How about you? Do you have a hard time reading the Bible? Do you ever sense God “speak” to you when you read Scripture?