Today's Lectionary Text
Isaiah 30:19-21 (CEB)
People in Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. God will certainly be merciful to you. Hearing the sound of your outcry, God will answer you. Though the Lord gives you the bread of distress and the water of oppression, your teacher will no longer hide, but you will see your teacher. If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.”
A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing for a bit on YouTube, and I was drawn to watch the latest sermon delivered by a very popular preacher. I watched it for a while – sometimes we preachers will watch others, looking at their preaching style, or hearing their message on a verse or passage we’ve been using, particularly if both are following the Revised Common Lectionary for our scripture readings.
The truth is that his message style really wasn’t for me, and that’s fine, because he obviously knows how to reach a large number of people – his church has 2.5 million subscribers on YouTube, and that’s a few more than we have.
But what did catch me was the scripture he was using. He was using Isaiah 30:19-21.
I love the imagery of these verses, but I love more the fact that even when times are tough, God is there for us. Part of the pastor’s message was that often we try so many ways to fix the problems we have in our lives, and when none of our ways succeed, THEN we turn to God. So why not turn to God first? After all, everything you encounter was created by God, and God knows where you are when you take your next step, since God created that ability for you by creating the ground you walk on and the ability to move your body in that direction.
How is the bread of distress dragging you down today? What is causing you to feel like you are drowning in the waters of oppression? Before anything else, stop and listen for the word that comes from behind you – “This is the way; walk in it.”
God is the true path through the dark and dreary days. God makes the crooked path straight, and the rough places plain. God walks with you through the power of the Holy Spirit, whispering to you when you stop and listen during those days that seem to go on forever. The word will come, showing you the way. Listen, and walk in that way, and know that God has not forsaken you and never will. THAT is a blessing for which to be thankful!
--Keith Anglemyer, pastor
Prayer for Reflection
God, we give your thanks for your walk with us, and your ever-present direction in which you lead us. Help us to hear your voice, guiding us along the straight and narrow path through the sometimes dark and dreary days of our lives. Amen.
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