Friday, December 24, 2010

Guide to Right Direction

Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, (Isaiah 28:11 NIV)

Foreign LanguageWhen my wife and I visited Japan some years ago, we decided to travel around by public transport. Looking through the route signs at the subway station for direction to get to our planned destinations, we discovered none of the signs was written in English. Without a choice, therefore, we approached the station staff to ask for help instead. Conversing with the station staff however was just as difficult because they do not speak or understand the English language. After much struggle speaking to several people, my wife and I finally have a vague idea on the connecting lines we were to take in order to get to where we wanted to go.

Like the barriers we face when communicating in foreign language, the Bible in Isaiah 28 also tells of an occasion when God had to use foreign lips and strange tongues to speak to His people (v11). This was because when God spoke to them to guide them to the resting place and the place of repose, they would not listen (v12). God therefore had no choice but to use a ‘foreign language’ or a different approach to direct them by giving specific instructions. So the word of the LORD to them was, “Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that,” that they may fall backward, be injured, snared and captured (v13).

Such are the ways our Lord can direct us to the right path through difficulties and failures we face in life. For whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, so as to lead us to the way we should go (Hebrews 12:5-7). Falling backward and getting injured help us learn to better understand God’s direction for our lives. If, however, we choose to harbor bitterness and become scoffers instead of learn from our failures (v14), we will not stand (v18), for we would have made a lie our refuge and entered into a covenant with death (v15). Taking refuge living out a lie or living lives with hardened hearts is making falsehood our hiding place (v15). When an overwhelming scourge—such as the problems we face in life—sweeps by, we will be beaten down, and as often as it comes, it will carry us away and sweep us through (v17-19).

Let us therefore not harden our hearts when we face difficulties in life or be conceited like the ones who hoped to build the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens that God had to confuse their language (Genesis 11:4-7). We should instead be thankful the word of God has today been translated in many languages. No longer do we need to face language barriers or struggle to understand vaguely God’s direction for us while traveling this life on earth. The Bible is God’s guidebook for us—a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). Should we therefore not desire God’s guidance from His word and abide by His teachings to live our lives to the fullest for His purpose?

Our God is not One who expects us to follow rules blindly, otherwise He would not have given us the freedom of choice. He is a God who desires to guide us and satisfy our needs, and He will not let us be swept away under the overwhelming scourge of a sun-scorched land. He will strengthen us like a well-watered garden which spring waters never fail (Isaiah 58:11). Let us therefore not neglect to seek God’s guidance at all times and study to learn from God’s word the direction we should take in all we do or plan to do.

Thank You dear Lord for giving us the Bible as a guidebook for living our lives on earth. Forgive us Lord for the times we choose not to follow Your guidance and go our own way, that You have no choice but to discipline us in order to lead us to the right path. We know Lord that many of our difficulties in life are but ways by which You direct us to do what is right. Help us therefore Lord not to harden our hearts to take failures too bitterly, but understand that whom You love, You discipline. Keep us strong Lord and strengthen us that we may not be easily beaten down or carried away whenever a problem comes along.

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