Read Isaiah 31
Focus on verse 6
I find it interesting that the older I get, the more I treasure the memories and values that I learned as a child. Some of these things made little sense to me when I was a child. I now wish I had valued them a little more at the time. This seems to be a familiar pattern among people, at least in western culture. As young people we challenge resist and/or reject the values and traditions of our parents. Then as life experience teaches us a little wisdom, we begin to understand why our parents thought these things were important, and the older we get the more inclined we become to return to these values and traditions – at least those we still remember.
In today’s reading Isaiah encourages the people of Jerusalem to return to God against whom they have revolted, suggesting that the day is coming when they will cast off the idols they have made for themselves, and seek, once again, to worship the Lord. This can happen to those of us who grew up in Christian homes as well. As we struggle to gain our independence, we begin to test the things we were taught as children. Depending upon the parenting skills and wisdom of our parents, we resist and reject some of the things that we sense restrict us, or don’t make sense to us. If our parents are wise, they help us find our way through these difficult times by gradually increasing our independence without abandoning us relationally, trusting that the things they have taught us as young children will bring us back eventually to the values that were instilled and modeled.
You may recall a few months ago when we were reading Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6) What parents sometimes fail to notice in this verse is that it does not guarantee that a child will not rebel and test his or her independence in the middle years. It simply encourages parents that when the child grows up to be old, he or she will remember and return to the truth that was taught them when they were young.
It is not uncommon for us to refuse to learn from the mistakes of others, thereby defaulting to the only other option…to learn from our own mistakes. This can be painful, sometimes even fatal, but it is the way it is. It is by the Lord’s mercy and grace that we choose to return. Just as it was by His mercy and grace that we learned it in the first place. One thing I have learned in the time I have lived on this planet is that the sooner I choose to give up chasing after the idols I have built for myself, the easier it is on me and everyone around me.