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Isaiah 42 presents a grand description of God’s goodness for his people.
— Verses 1-4 – A Servant who will provide the kind of justice and well-being that only God can give is promised.
— Verses 5-9 – The job description of God’s Servant and our role as servants are presented.
— Verses 10-20 – A song of praise is given to the victorious God, who is willing to direct our paths.
Unfortunately, the chapter ends with God’s people rejecting his offer of guidance.
The Lord was pleased, for the sake of his righteousness,
to magnify his teaching and make it glorious.
Who among you will give heed to this,
who will attend and listen for the time to come?
Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler,
and Israel to the robbers?
Was it not the Lord, against whom we have sinned,
in whose ways they would not walk,
and whose law they would not obey? (Isaiah 42.21, 23-24)
A Common Theme
There is no need to travel back 2700 years in time to find examples of how God’s people refuse his guidance. It occurs today with great frequency. Even though I write daily blog articles about following God, I often succumb to following my desires rather than God’s.
We sin when we refuse to walk in God’s ways and according to his teaching.
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) are God’s gifts to us. They provide the necessary information for living the best life possible.
Moses marveled at the way God loved the Hebrew people and personally gave guidance for living. He said, “For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him?
“And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4.7-8).
Moses also knew how people tend to reject God’s direction in favor of self-will.
He said, “But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children” (Deuteronomy 4.9).
Take Care and Watch Yourselves
How can we best follow Moses’ counsel so that we don’t forget what God has done for us? Here are a couple of thoughts.
(1) Continually refresh our minds, so that God’s guidance doesn’t slip away from us.
When did you last read the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount? Regular reading of those two Bible passages will remind you of God’s basic guidelines for life.
If everyone obeyed the information of these two great Bible passages, the world would be a blessed place in which to live. We can’t change the world by our obedience, but we can transform the atmosphere of home, work, church, and play.
(2) Let God’s word challenge your willfulness.
The issue we face is a choice between willfulness and willingness. Willfulness involves the obsession to always get our way.
Willingness is a surrender of our desires to the directions of God.
When people develop a friendship relationship with God, God’s Spirit begins a process of transformation. The Spirit will change us from being self-centered to God-centered if we give him the opportunity.
(3) Don’t Stop!
The only way I know to avoid the trap of disregarding God’s direction in favor of my own is to spend time with God’s word. Each day, I read passages from the Old Testament and one of the Gospels.
As I pray the Scripture, it opens my mind to God’s will for my life.
To think that God will communicate with me – or with anyone, for that matter – is an act of abundant grace and love. The next step is to follow him in obedience.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.