Scripture: verse 16
Wrap up this document, and confine its teaching to those I have instructed.
Application: I’m not certain how much of the preceding passage is “this document,” but probably just the last few verses, which are about how the secular worldview is completely different from the godly worldview, and God is present among His people to be a shelter for those who seek His worldview and an obstacle for those who don’t. He’s present so that they cannot sit on the fence or pretend to be neutral. There isn’t a third option.
I’m not sure why the teaching had to be concealed. Admittedly one does not tell people about the trap one is planning, but I would think that they people who rejected God weren’t listening anyway. Perhaps God is also trying to avoid a Pascal’s Wager sort of situation.
I hate it when knowledge is deliberately withheld. Even when there’s a good reason for it, it really bugs me. Most of the time that’s probably a good thing.
But…there’s a time to stay silent. God told Isaiah not to broadcast this teaching, and there are other times He gave similar instructions.
My mom said once that God once gave her the Scripture “do not awaken love before love’s time” (Song of Songs 8:4) for one of her children, meaning that she needed to sit back and let God work on the child quietly, rather than pushing for right behavior. I don’t know the details of that situation, but I can think of times I have needed to let God work rather than try to push myself.
And recently I’ve been part of several conversations about confronting others about their poor behavior or challenging others about their beliefs, and I keep coming away feeling that in many cases we need to be quiet and pray instead of expecting the issue to be resolved on the human level. We’re too prone to let in anger and bitterness, and minds that are closed to God aren’t going to be listening anyway.
I don’t really know what to do with this. I don’t want to be copping out, avoiding conflict because I dislike it. I admit I find it much easier to pray than to talk. But I also see plenty of times when I have forced myself to speak up and it has just backfired, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. And maybe it did some good anyway, underneath the surface, but maybe I should have waited until God gave me words.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spirits and principalities (Eph 6:12). Flesh and blood are right in front of us, but too often that’s the wrong way to attack.
Observation: Ask God for guidance, I guess. He knows we need it.
Prayer: Father, make me an instrument of your peace. Teach me to pray or speak or be silent as needed. Amen.