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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Foreign Language (12/09/10)

TITLE: Guide for Right Direction
By Edmond Ng


    Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, (Isaiah 28:11 NIV)
When my wife and I visited Japan some years ago, we decided to travel around by public transport. While looking through the subway route signs on how to get to our planned destinations, we discovered none of the signs was written in the English language. We therefore had no choice but to ask the station staff for directions. Conversing with the station staff however is just as difficult because they do not speak or understand the English language. After much struggle speaking to several people, my wife and I finally have a vague idea on the connecting lines we were to take in order to get to where we wanted to go.

Like the barriers we face when communicating in foreign language, the Bible in Isaiah 28 also relates an occasion when God had to use foreign lips and strange tongues to speak to His people (v11). This was because when God spoke to them to guide them to the resting place and the place of repose, they would not listen (v12). God therefore had no choice but to use a ‘foreign language’ or a different approach to direct them by giving specific instructions. So the word of the LORD to them was, “Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that,” so they may fall backward, be injured, snared and captured (v13).

Such are the difficulties and failures we face in life which are necessary for directing us to the right path. For whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, so as to lead us to the way we should go (Hebrews 12:5-7). Falling backward and getting injured are ways by which we can learn and better understand God’s direction for our lives. If, however, we choose to harbor bitterness and become scoffers to enter into a covenant with death instead of learn from our failures (v14-15), we will not stand (v18), for we would have made a lie our refuge (v15). Taking refuge living out a lie or living lives with hardened hearts is like making falsehood our hiding place (v15). When an overwhelming scourge—such as the problems we face in life—sweeps by, we will be beaten down, and as often as it comes, it will carry us away and sweep us through (v17-19).

Let us therefore not harden our hearts when we face difficulties in life, or be conceited like the ones who hoped to build the Tower of Babel to reach the heavens, that God had to confuse their language (Genesis 11:4-7). We should instead be thankful the word of God has today been translated in many languages. No longer do we need to face language barriers or struggle to understand vaguely God’s direction for us while traveling this life on earth. The Bible is God’s guidebook for us—a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). Should we therefore not desire God’s guidance from His word and abide by His teachings to live our lives to the fullest for His purpose?

Our God is not One who expects us to follow rules blindly, otherwise He would not have given us the freedom of choice. He is a God who desires to guide us and satisfy our needs, and He will not let us be swept away under the overwhelming scourge of a sun-scorched land. He will strengthen us like a well-watered garden which spring waters never fail (Isaiah 58:11). Let us therefore not neglect to seek God’s guidance at all times and study to learn from God’s word the direction we should take in all we do or plan to do.

Thank You, dear Lord, for giving us the Bible as a guidebook for living our lives on earth. Forgive us Lord for the times we choose not to follow Your guidance and go our own way, that You have no choice but to discipline us in order to lead us to the right path. We know Lord that many of our difficulties in life are but ways by which You direct us to do what is right. Help us therefore Lord not to harden our hearts to take failures too bitterly, but understand that whom You love, You discipline. Keep us strong Lord and strengthen us that we may not be easily beaten down or carried away whenever a problem comes along.

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This article has been read 556 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lizzy Ainsworth12/17/10
I can totally identify with this method of hearing God. Great devotional
Gregory Kane12/18/10
A good devotion with an excellent introductory paragraph. From an exegetical point of view, I felt that you could have given more space to explain why God felt it necessary to speak to his people through strange tongues.
Cheryl Harrison12/21/10
We are so blessed that God chooses to communicate with us. We may not always like what He says, but it is much better than silence. Thanks for your devotional. Keep writing.
Henry Clemmons12/21/10
Thank you for this. It was just what I needed. Well written too.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/21/10
You always bring a good word from the Lord. May God bless your devotionals to many.
Catrina Bradley 12/21/10
A great message! Your personal anecdote at the beginning was a great introduction. Not as "smooth" as some of your devotions, but I enjoyed it, and as always, was convicted by your words and His Word. Thank you.
diana kay12/22/10
i liked this but i would have liked to hear more about your adventures in Japan..... maybe some other time :-)
Lollie Hofer12/22/10
I agree, your anecdote to start the devotional was a good way to pull in your reader. Great thoughts...I plan on reading it again when the grandkids aren't right under my nose making lots of noise. Good food for the soul.
Noel Mitaxa 12/22/10
Challenging material with an arresting intro, though maybe the intro needed an extra illustration to provide a stronger bridge to your scripture exposition.