Reflections on the Old Testament: Isaiah
“And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or whenever you turn to the left.”—Isaiah 30:20-21, NKJV.
These verses succinctly describe our pilgrimage. Not the broad path bordered with flowers, but the narrow path upon which we must humbly eat the bread of adversity and drink the water of affliction. No longer is God’s Word suppressed and “moved into a corner,” but, rather, it is daily before our eyes and speaking softly behind us, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever we are tempted to stray from the narrow path.
We exchange the false delicacies of the world for the bread and water of adversity and affliction. Does it seem cruel of God to give us such bitter sustenance? Nay, for while the unbelievers become fat on fleshly pleasures and false comfort, our Lord strengthens His faithful ones with tribulation, and guides us with truth. Shall our path indeed be smooth and clear when Christ’s was marked with blood?“Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.”—Isaiah 32:15, NKJV.
Without the Holy Spirit, we are but a barren wilderness, “a weary land.” For how can we, within whose hearts there dwells no good thing, hope to bear good fruit without divine assistance? Nay, only when the very Spirit of goodness itself is “poured upon us from on high” can our lifeless branches be revived to fruitfulness—“then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field,” (Is. 32:16).