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This is the Way

This is the Way

This is part three of three in a series on Isaiah 30. Click to read Part One and Part Two.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (Isaiah 30:18, 20-22).

In part one and part two of this series, I focused on the spirits of rebellion and rejection, the grace of discipline from the LORD, and explained how we are saved in returning and rest and strengthened in quietness and trust.

Verses like Isaiah 30:20 raise eyebrows. “And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your teacher.” We just read that the Lord “waits to be gracious,” “exalts himself to show mercy,” and “blessed are all who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18). Then we see that the Lord gives us the bread of adversity and the water of affliction? How is adversity bread and how is affliction water? You are not alone in your questions. This Scripture has astounding answers.

Most of you who read read this article have a good understanding of trials and their relationship to the strengthening and confirmation of our faith, as well as the development of character and perseverance from New Testament stalwarts like Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, Hebrews 12, and 1 Peter 4:12-19. However, Isaiah 30 marked the first time which I read words that pierced me with such clarity, joy, and sweetness.

Water and bread sustain. They fill us and satisfy us. They grow us and nourish our bodies so that we remain healthy and functional. And yet this Scripture says that God gives us the “bread of adversity” and the “water of affliction.” This must mean that both adversity and affliction benefit and build us up in some way.

The way appears later in the verse. The clouds of confusion part as understanding shines bright onto us. Why does the Lord give us affliction and adversity? Because it is only then that “your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). Under the yoke of affliction and adversity, you will gaze upon him with new eyes and behold Jesus Christ as never before. And not only that, but “your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21). He not only reveals his glory and goodness and personhood to you like never before, but he directs you. He speaks softly, but to those who listen, it sounds like the shout of a nation. When you eat the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, you will receive direction for your life and the manner in which you must walk from your Teacher (Ephesians 4:1).

The bread of adversity and the water of affliction break off the strongholds of sin and idolatry and lift the weight of the world for those who are in Christ. “Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (Isaiah 30:22). You no longer simply recognize your idols, but you defile and destroy them. You treat them as the Israelites treated “unclean things” and cast them away from you. All desire for them is robbed from you, for you discovered a superior pleasure that speaks, convicts, and delivers in the darkness.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18). This is who he is. He is gracious. He makes his name on showing you mercy. He is just – never doing wrong. And all those who wait for him are blessed. So wait for him. Though you may eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction, trust in the his grace, rejoice in his mercy, and rest in his loving kindness.

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Jared Odenbeck

Jared Odenbeck is a professional soccer player from Charlotte, NC. Jared graduated from Wake Forest University in December 2016 with a degree in English and Journalism. His greatest desire for his writing is that it would awaken the western Church to pure Gospel-centered truth and recapture the essence of unadultered Christianity.

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