To the Teaching!
We live in an age that is unique in many ways. We have technology at our fingertips that gives us access to information that would have remained out of reach decades ago. We can stay in touch with friends across the world, we can share our thoughts online at a whim, and we don’t need to wait until tomorrow to catch up on the headlines.
But we would be off base to assume that everything about our lives is historically unique. The Israelites to whom Isaiah prophesied over two and a half millennia ago may not have had 24/7 news and social media, but they were just as tempted as we are to be distracted by noisy and unhelpful voices. Isaiah reports that some Israelites wanted to “inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” and others wanted to “inquire of the dead on behalf of the living” (Isaiah 8:19).
We have this in common with the Israelites. We may not be consulting with
fortune-tellers and the dead (though such things remain popular even in our so-called rational scientific age), but we are by no means starved of sources of “truth” around us. The basic problem now, as then, is not the absence of good information and wise counsel. The problem is that we turn our ears and hearts to listen to lies.
Isaiah’s response to his original audience, then, is his response to us too: “To the teaching and to the testimony!” God has spoken, and it is His word that should be the dominant voice in our lives—the primary influence on how we think and act. If we give ourselves to unrelenting information and news, we should not be surprised when we face increased anxiety. If we spend loads of time scrolling online, we should not be surprised to find ourselves feeling more isolated than ever. If we look to the sages of our age for guidance, we should not be surprised to find ourselves going off track.
Do you give priority to God’s voice? Do you let His word hold pride of place among the voices you listen to? Or do you give Him an hour on Sunday and assume that will be enough to hold you over for a week? The Almighty God calls His people to allow their minds to be renewed, transformed by exposure to and meditation upon His holy word (Romans 12:2). The blessed person is not the one who knows the ins and outs of every news story or cultural crisis but the one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
What are you reading most, hearing most, and dwelling on most? Perhaps now is a time to recommit yourself “to the teaching”—to reading, meditating upon, and memorizing it—for the good and stability of your soul.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
28Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,2 which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One;3 listen to him!”
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