This verse will undoubtedly be one of the easiest ones to memorize during this challenge, but it is one you can pull out during times of uncertainty. If you have read “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, you will recall the story of Christian and his quest to travel from his hometown, the City of Destruction to the Celestial City (metaphorically Heaven). As Christian goes about his journey, he encounters various characters, cities, and terrain that threaten to end his journey by offers of comfort, rest, and ease. At one point, Christian and his traveling companion, Hopeful, approach the Delectable Mountains near the Celestial City. Wise shepherds are there to warn the two of the mountains Error and Caution and to warm them previous pilgrims have died on this part of the journey. The wise shepherds show Christian and Hopeful where other pilgrims were blinded by the Giant Despair and are warned to beware of shortcuts which may be paths to death.
John Bunyan in writing “The Pilgrim’s Progress” brilliantly points out a myriad of emotions, temptations, snares, pitfalls, and distractions that constantly barrage Christ followers. However, at every point along the journey, Christian is met by someone or has been given some thing that if he is steadfast, allows him to continue on the path to the Celestial City. This is such a true picture of what we face in our lives, but so often we forget there are a multitude of things available to help us remain faithful to God and to continue on the path He has set before us. Our verse, Isaiah 30:21 perfectly points this out to us.
“Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
In Scripture, turning to the right or the left is generally the wrong way to go as there is a certain path we are to walk. So, to turn away from walking forward or walking straight means there is something grabbing our attention and tempting us to turn away from the prize. Yet, this verse in Isaiah tells us when we turn, when we get off the path or are tempted to stray from the path, our ears will hear a voice telling us where the right path is and encouraging us to return to the correct path. I know you are asking what is the voice? Well, the voice can be the Holy Spirit living in you, the conviction of Scripture, and Godly friends and leaders around you. In John 14, Jesus talks with his disciples about his impending death and He promises to send them a helper, the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “the helper, the Holy Spirit . . will teach you everything.” He tells them the Holy Spirit will remind them of everything that He ever told them. This promise is given to us also. As believers in Jesus, we have been given the helper, the Holy Spirit to remind us of everything we have learned. Sometimes, it’s an unexplainable conviction or what some people call a “still, small voice” that is the Holy Spirit’s voice whispering in our ear to return to the right path.
Scripture can also be the voice showing us how to return or remain on the right path. This is why I am so utterly convinced that memorizing Scripture is one of the best things you can do as a believer. When you take a wrong turn or are tempted to walk along the wrong path, so often there is a Scripture you can recall to help you know the right way to go. The other voices in our lives are the community of people around us. My hope is you have people around you who are walking alongside you and who are able to speak into your life when you are tempted to stray or when you stray. I hope you are part of a faith community with pastors and teachers who teach God’s word and lead those in their care.
Life is full of difficult choices, circumstances, and decisions. We are human which means we will make mistakes. But, when we make a mistake, when we are blinded by temptations or despair, there is always the voice behind you, leading you, guiding you toward the Heavenly Father who offers forgiveness, and encouragement, and most importantly unfathomable love. My prayer is you learn to hear and to recognize the voice behind you and learn to trust the One who guides you.
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We have another great lock screen image for you to download, this is a great way to keep this verse in front of you as you memorize it.
Hand lettering by Nicole Baldridge. Find her work on IG @nicolebaldridgedesigns