The Guiding Word
Isaiah 30:21
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand…

I. THE SINNER'S ATTITUDE BEFORE GOD IS UNSEEMLY AND DANGEROUS. "A word behind thee." A man who hears a word behind him has his back to the speaker. He is, for some reason, not in a friendly attitude.

1. The fact is implied, in the context, that the sinner has not only his back turned to God, but is actually going away from Him. And that the going away is not an inadvertency or oversight, but the result of a set purpose.

2. That he is self-willed, stubborn, and persistent in his efforts; he continues his course of separation, in spite of the constant overtures and entreaties of love.

II. GOD'S WARNINGS AND OVERTURES ARE SIMPLE AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD. "A word behind thee." Not a confusing, rapidly uttered discourse — not a cold philosophical, or logical treatise; not a metaphysical disquisition, couched in scientific phrase — bewildering and vague, but, "a word." Not a mysterious echo from the hilltops, or an unknown voice speaking from afar, but, "a word behind thee." "Thine ears shall hear." God is not unreason. able in His demands. When He calls, man possesses the God-given capacity to hear and obey.

III. A KNOWLEDGE OF HIS DUTY IS NOT OPTIONAL WITH THE SINNER. "Thine ears shall hear." A man's knowledge of his duty is not conditioned by his conduct, as are the blessings of religion. God never gives any man up until he becomes so wedded to his sins that he indignantly spurns all efforts for his salvation, both human and Divine.

IV. GOD'S WARNINGS AND INSTRUCTIONS ARE ADEQUATE AND AMPLE, THEREFORE THE SINNER IS WITHOUT EXCUSE. "This is the way, walk ye in it." In His teachings, Jesus Christ always presents duties as well as doctrines, — practice as well as principles.

1. Here we have doctrine. "This is the way." Not one of a number of ways, or an improvement on the old. No; it has neither duplicate nor substitute.

2. We have also the practical. "Walk ye in it."

V. THE LIFE OF THE SINNER IS NOT NECESSARILY FIXED AND MONOTONOUS. "When ye turn to the right hand, or to the left" The tremendous prerogative of free agency leaves it with every man to formulate and determine his own activities.

1. Notice the broad sphere open to the sinner, and from which he is to select the pathway of his activities.

(1) He may go straight ahead. This may involve very little that is specially good or bad.

(2) He may "turn to the right hand." There is such a thing as right-hand sins. "Popular, paying iniquities," which evoke but little human condemnation.

(3) He may also turn to the left. There is such a thing as "left-hand" sins, awkward, unseemly, embarrassing. Conduct that destroys reputation, health, character, destiny. The forger, the liar, the thief, the drunkard, the sensualist, all come in here. Everything sacred, noble, manly, valuable, is sacrificed to the absorbing demand of the present.

2. Notice the grandest possibility within reach of the sinner. Right about face. This grand movement at once brings to an end both his conduct and character as a sinner.

(Thomas Kelly.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

WEB: and when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way. Walk in it."

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