Speaking to the Soul – January 5

A short reading and prayer for today

Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!
Psalm 86:11 NLT

I wonder what your school teachers were like. I suspect that we all had a wide range experiences. I reflect on my own teachers. Some of them were strict, others were encouraging, a few were inspiring, some seemed to be in the wrong job, others were funny and more of them thought they were funny! Teachers vary enormously. But when it comes to learning about life itself, we need the very best teacher, and here David recognises that God is that teacher.

God is often spoken of as Israel’s teacher. In Isaiah 2.3 the prophet identified Jerusalem as the centre of education for the world when he wrote, “People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.” Sadly, God’s teaching was often rejected by the people. In Jeremiah’s prophecy we hear God saying, “They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction.” (Jeremiah 32.33) Aren’t they painful words? No one likes to have someone turn their back on them, but when God’s own people reject his teaching it must be excruciatingly painful.

If we are to grow in our walk with God, we need to listen hard to his instruction. Many people will help us on that journey but God is the source of all faithful teaching. He sends us preachers and teachers, Bibles and study books, and surrounds us with Christian friends who can help us to understand what he is saying to us. To use the powerful language of Jeremiah’s prophecy we need to make sure that we turn our faces to his teaching and not our backs.


What is God teaching you at the moment?


Loving Father, thank you that your teaching always encourages and strengthens us. Amen

Photo – Parish church, Ballycastle