“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.”— Isaiah 48:17 ESV
The verse above identifies two important things that the LORD our God does for us. If we grasp hold of them, we will learn something important about the LORD. If we grasp hold of them, our lives will go better. The LORD is the God who teaches us things that are important to know and the LORD is the God who leads us in the way that is important to follow.
First, the LORD our God teaches us things that are important to know. He teaches us to profit. The word “profit” in this context refers to that which is profitable to us; it refers to that which is a good investment for us. When we need to know what will work to our benefit and what will improve our lives for the better, it is the LORD God of heaven and earth that we should learn from.
Second, the LORD our God leads us in the way that is important to follow. He leads us in the way we should go. The “way we should go” in this context refers to the direction we should take in life; it refers to the moral standards that define how we should live our lives. When we need to find the proper pathway through life and the right thing to do, it is the LORD God of heaven and earth that we should follow.
The LORD our God knows what will be profitable for you and He knows the way you should go. If you are not too proud to listen to His teaching, and if you are not too stubborn to follow His lead, then your life will be better for it.
When the sentence for a crime is not speedily executed, the hearts of men become fully set on doing evil.—Eccl 8:11
Have you ever ignored a nagging sense of conviction in your heart? Maybe you rationalized wrongdoing with the thought that if God were really upset, He’d put a stop to things by disciplining you. Psalm 50:21 reminds us that the silence of heaven does not mean approval. Remaining in sin is an abuse of the Lord’s patience.
When God seems slow to react, we might hope He’s overlooking our transgressions—we’d like to continue in sin because the momentary pleasure is more appealing than obedience. But thankfully, the Father knows our weaknesses, our innate carnality, and the state of our spiritual growth, and He therefore measures His response. Motivated by love and a desire to gently restore His children to righteousness, God refrains from instantly doling out punishment. Instead, He waits for the Holy Spirit’s prodding to impact the believer’s heart. The weight of conviction is actually an invitation to turn from wrongdoing and return to godliness.
However, we’re a stubborn people. There are times when we persist in sin because the sentence against an evil deed isn’t executed quickly (Eccl. 8:11). In this dangerous situation, it’s possible to immerse ourselves in sin and harden our heart against the Lord. Then the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance falls on spiritual ears rapidly going deaf.
As we learn and understand more about God and His ways, we are increasingly responsible to live righteously. Our heavenly Father is not slow; He’s patient. But don’t abuse that patience with callous disregard for His statutes. Repent and be holy in the sight of the Lord.