This is the Way, Walk in It

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“The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you would turn to the right or to the left.”

This passage is about trusting in the Lord, rather than in the things of the world. The bread that we need and the water we thirst for, that is, the Living Water of eternal life can come from the Lord alone. He who, in the past, had made the people blind and deaf through prophetic messages (Isaiah 6:9-10) and who in his anger hid his face from the house of Jacob (Isaiah 8:17) is now helping us to understand his teaching. How? He has sent us his only Son to teach us what living in accord with the will of God looks like. In Jesus he has taught us the depths of the Father’s love, what it looks like in action in the real world. And when Jesus ascended back to the Father, he did not leave us alone. He gave us his Spirit to continue to teach and to guide us, to fill us with the knowledge and the faith that we need to be true disciples of Christ.

In another sense here, we are reminded of the gift of our consciences. It is this part of our intelligence that is appealed to most in all things moral, in all things involving knowledgeable and free choices between good and evil, right and wrong. The Spirit teaches us the way, encourages us with grace to stay on the narrow path. When we begin to stray off of the narrow path, when we are tempted to turn to the right, or to the left as we walk this pilgrimage road through this dark valley, this Vanity Fair, it is the voice of the Spirit that whispers in our consciences, “This is the way; walk in it.”

It is for this reason that we are to train the ears of our souls, the ears of our consciences, to the Word of God on a daily basis. We must make prayer and the reading of the holy Scriptures a natural habit in our daily lives. We are to keep holy the Sabbath, where we encounter the Word in community, and share in its wisdom. In other words, we are to make ourselves available to the Presence of God always and in all ways. We are to do this in all humility, listening to his Word whispered within us at every moment, becoming obedient to that Word. We are to practice attentiveness. We are to be awake to the will of God at all times. For there is much in this world that desires to take us away from the narrow path, whether that be “to the right, or to the left.” The Evil One desires to take us away from God. We must train ourselves to listen ever more closely to the clear voice of God whispering in our consciences, so that we will know the difference between God’s call and that voice of temptation that disguises itself in so many seemingly attractive ways.

Lord, give us an ever-deepening desire to listen to your Word alone. Open our ears to hear your clear and constant call to goodness, and strengthen our wills to desire to follow you only. Help us to listen with ever more humble and contrite hearts, so that our wisdom may grow more true. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.