Isaiah 30:19-26 (NRSV)
19 Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. 20 Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, “Away with you!”
23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; 24 and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
My middle daughter, Sinclair, is a very independent 25-year-old. She’s always been independent, yet stubborn from the time she was born. When she was about two or three years old, she was already learning to tie her shoes. Awesome thing for a little one. Except when you’re running late for church or preschool. She would sit on the floor by the front door, putting on her own shoes and taking her time. I would wait as she insistently declared, “I do it myself, Mama. I do it myself!” So, I’d wait. What she didn’t know or want to admit was that she truly still needed my help. Finally, after we were truly late, she would say, “Mama?” I’d said “Yes, Bear Bear?” “I need your help,” she’d say. I would kneel down and tie her shoes, all the while explaining how to do it.
These were teaching moments for both of us. Notice the wording in verse 19: “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you.” There are four steps in this sentence that are not written in order, but the order is implied. First, we must cry out to God. God is waiting for us to acknowledge God and the promises he made. Then, he hears us because we are God’s children and God keeps his covenant with us. Third, God is gracious and patient with us. We can be stubborn, independent and often think we can do life our own way instead of heeding God’s warnings, following his path and hoping in his promises. Lastly, God will answer. Our teacher is no longer a mystery.
Isaiah, being God’s mouthpiece on earth, clearly lays out the path beginning in verse 21. We are to set aside that which we rely on instead of God: pride, fear, ego, anger, greed. How do we do that? Acknowledge we need God’s wisdom. Listen for God’s reminders of the promise: a kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. No one will be hungry or in need. There will be no pain or sorrow. There will be no “us and them.” Only us. It’s an invitation to believe we don’t have to do it ourselves.
God, thank you for being so patient with us. So many times we cry out, “I’ll do it myself,” instead of “God, I need you!” Help me to set aside my pride, fear or ego so that I have room for your instructions. I know that if I follow the path you so clearly laid out in your word, we will all see your Kingdom on earth AND in heaven. I love you. Amen.