“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’.”
~Isaiah 30:20-21 (NIV).
Honouring the voice is honouring, by obedience, all our trusted guides (as far as God leads); most assuredly the Guide — the Holy Spirit. So, this above surely is the New Covenant reality... not that we’ll be saved from pain, adversity, affliction and turmoil in this life, but that we’ll walk ‘our journey’ with the presence of good guidance: Holy Spirit affirmed and confirmed.
The Innocence in Instant Obedience
The passage of Isaiah’s commends us to listen, because we have ears, and to then obey.
Again, as in many biblical allusions to spiritual discernment, we find references to eyes and seeing and ears and hearing. This is no coincidence.
There is a good hint of sensual reason in this, which we trust in faith, that by simply sensing what we believe to be good we go with it, not doubting, fumbling over or relaxing the diligence we’re capable of. Instant obedience is inherently the diligent way which is both wisdom and childlike faith to act appropriately on good Spirit-provident ‘intel’.
There is a significant portion of innocence that must be beyond the betrayal of the flesh in this. But we must’ve discerned well in that instant. It’s no good obeying the wrong voice.
Despite Our Difficulties Remains the Voice
The voices in our midst — those of the Spirit and trusted guides and wise advisors — are the faithful bequest of the God that loves us and wants for us to follow the ancient path of wilful obedience to the holy way; this despite the arduousness of it all.
We do struggle. We always will. But we’re not alone, and this is the point of life — we have God and we have each other to make the journey palatable.
Whilst we’re blessed in gaining our independence at adulthood, learning also the healthy balance of interdependence in relating with and relying upon others, blessed are we doubly when we embrace our dependence on God and the wisdom of good voices in our lives. This doubles and triples the blessings of humility in and through us.
A Great Paradoxical Freedom
Honouring the voice via the dependences above is a sharp and dichotomous freedom. It really means that we have a command over ourselves that looks, from external sources, either quite inspirational or indelibly controlled-from-without depending on the point from which it’s viewed.
For ourselves, however, we know we’re following hard after God’s way as a function of instant obedience to those trusted voices and we’re very simply pleased.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Post Script: We must be careful, however, of controlling others who promote co-dependence. We don’t honour those voices. Only those who are truly godly in approach — those allowing us the freedom of final choice, with their blessing — are to be trusted.
Graphic Credit: Linda Randall.