This is the way; walk in it.

May 30, 2006

I can be a bit thick sometimes, especially when it comes to hearing God’s voice.

At church on Sunday night we committed a Bible verse to memory as part of the service. The verse was Isaiah 30:21, and it goes like this:

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.”

At the time I thought nothing of it. Actually, that’s not quite true. To be honest, I didn’t really understand what it was saying–and maybe I still don’t–but I made a mental note to go away and read the verse in context to try and get a handle on it.

The verse comes in the middle of a chapter (and, in fact, a series of chapters) prophesying woe and doom. God is disciplining His children (and other nations) and showing them the error of their ways. But, even though they have worshipped false gods and idols, God is always longing to show mercy to His people if they follow His ways:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18).

God is saying that, even though we have been disobedient, all we have to do is cry for help (Isaiah 30:19) and As soon as he hears, he will answer you. He’s saying He’s a gracious and faithful God, in other words.

Which brings me to my current situation. I’m coming to the end of an eight-year stint in higher education. At the moment I’m in the final stages of writing up my PhD thesis in linguistics at Newcastle University. It’s been a fun ride, though very hard at times. However, all things end and now I’ve got to head out into the big world and get a job… At 27 years old. Pretty shameful, I know.

Now, I know the general area I want to work in, but I’m still utterly clueless about where I’m supposed to go. Jobs in the academic-related sector are few and far between and, generally, when they come up, you have to go for them. So I’ve been sending out applications left, right and centre to universities up and down the country. Throughout this time, Jen (my wife) and I have tried to stay open to God’s will; we’ve basically said: “whereever you want us, Lord, we’ll go. But try to make it obvious, please!”

Well, God’s already answering that prayer. All of the applications I’ve sent out so far have come back with a resounding negatory. Nothing. Not even an interview. Of course, this makes me feel pretty crap, but if I believe God is faithful, then I should give thanks to Him for answering my prayers!

More generally though, I don’t have a feeling of being “called” anywhere in particular. When this whole process started, I made a point of saying that I don’t just want to stay around the North East simply because that’s where I’ve been for my entire life, or because it’d just be easy to do. Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to stay here. We’ve got family and friends here and it’s a fantastic place to live. But I felt it was important to give all that to God and stay open to His direction.

I suppose I expected God to tell us where to go. Maybe audibly. Or maybe by dropping an email in my inbox. Or possibly even a little more esoterically by placing a glowing halo around a job advert or something. I don’t think I even considered something a little more conventional, like, oooh, drawing my attention to a verse in the Bible… A verse like Isaiah 30:21, perhaps.

I was praying and meditating on this verse yesterday as I walked home from university and I felt God gently prod me and reassure me at the same time. I think this verse is God’s way of telling me that I just need to listen to His voice and follow His ways. I’ve been fretting about where to go and how I’m going to get a job, but God’s telling me whether I look to the right or to the left, I’ll hear His voice and He will be faithful. I believe that God has a plan for our lives and I believe that He’ll reveal it to us if we stay close to Him.

Sometimes God reveals stuff to us one step at a time. This is the way, says the Lord. All we have to do is walk in it.

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7 Responses to “This is the way; walk in it.”

  1. Tara Says:

    Hi,
    I googled this verse in Isaiah online to see if anyone had meditated on it and had a testimony or experience with it, and I came across your story. I noticed the date is from May, and I wondered if now, in September, you had recieved an answer to your prayer regarding the job – if you had received an obvious voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” I am praying on it too, and feel much like you did. I would love to know the end of the story. Could you email, if you have a moment? yourstara@hotmail.com
    Blessings.
    Tara

  2. lostmoya Says:

    Hi Tara! I have now — nearly a year late — sent a reply! Sorry for the delay…

  3. Lise Says:

    Hi,

    I too googled this verse and was lead to read your blog – thank God! He’s definitely got it all in hand. Thank you for writing this and thank God!

    Ps 138:8

    “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your love, O LORD, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands.”

    Prov 3:5-6
    “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
    In all your ways know, recognise, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”

  4. Bisi Says:

    I also have just googled this passage of scripture. The words of God are eternal and ever effective. I feel like I am at crossroads, not knowing which way to go. But I have been greatly encouraged by the fact that God came through for you and He is faithful and will do it for me too. God bless.

  5. Revd. Les Stonehold Says:

    just posted. Got error message keep keeping on . needed the quote. never been a road map but more often an inkling for us. 76 & still never been let down. keep listening like Moses (ex 33:7-11a) and be content to earn your bread in the meantime. Every Blessing and happy christmas


  6. Isaiah 30:21 is the introduction one line sing that opens the largest radio ministry in this country! It is on Moody Bible Chapel, locally for myself 90.1 in Chicago m-fri 1pm. James McDonald founded Harvest Bible Chapel in 1988; since year 2000 this church has planted so many churches even (most are in america and canada — about 100). Go to HarvestBibleChapel.com. Google for other locations, but know that this protestant evangelical church is a big success. Pastor James blog on Harvestbible chapel, also each week’s message. But as for Is:30:21, it is on a half-hour program Of James McDonald called “Walk in the Word.” Usually the messages are past sermons over the years, but there is a good mix of some current as well. This past summer, he took a sabbatical to go to get away from the responsibility of leading a church (he founded it: Rolling Meadows NW suburb, 1988). James also took leave to seek treatment and refreshing after a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He is back this past fall. Just completed a lengthy series from book of Revelation. He is well known in christian circles across this country. Myself, I attend the Naperville, Il location but do also attend an additional service sometimes on a sat night at Rolling Meadows. I like James’ style and messages; I get a lot out of them. I always fill in my ible notes. I also appreciate the great bible store in the church building, the music selection is awesome. So, too is KLOVE.com which plays 24 hr commercial free contemporary christian music on many stations throughout the country — can listen on line streaming.

    You never know what you will find when you google search.

    My other topic of interest is Acts8:26-40. The story of Philip the evangalist and an eunuch. James has a tape on it in one of his series. This touches my heart since I want to have a ministry for those with Aids, any drug/alcohol addiction of from the gay, bi-sexual transgender community — many do not know God, or have a poor relationship with God. Salvation is available to all, the message from Acts. Obediance, your heart condition (or rather, if another has a hungry heart), baptism, among the points in that message.
    As we say when we end service at HBC — you are loved and walk in his strength.

  7. Maya Says:

    Great post, just discovered it, again, I was googling Isa 30:12. Thanks for sharing. Hope you’re well settled into a fulfilling job now :)


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