God Phonics

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Isaiah 28:9-13

It is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little. (v. 10)

This little poem in Isaiah 28 is almost a schoolyard taunt. (In the original Hebrew, it’s full of so many silly rhymes and puns that it sounds like a nursery rhyme or a tongue twister.) The prophet Isaiah’s listeners were apparently so annoyed with his message that they started openly making fun of him. To them, his words sounded like a reading lesson for kids. “Line upon line”; no doubt they thought he was insulting their intelligence with his simple words from God. And yet how often do we quietly assume that we’ve graduated, that we’ve mastered the basics of reading and hearing God’s word?

I don’t know if we ever actually graduate from the school of faith. In this life, we are always still working on our God phonics, slowly and carefully sounding out and deciphering each word of God. Whenever we chew on a single verse of Scripture for weeks, or whenever we stutter our way through praying a psalm, we are practicing our spiritual vowels and consonants, inching just a little closer to full gospel fluency.

It’s important to notice that Isaiah doesn’t try to deny the taunt. Instead, he takes it up and repeats it right back at his hearers. He agrees with them. The message of the gospel is deceptively simple. Are we willing to be humble enough to hear it yet again? —Steven Rodriguez

Prayer: Lord, help me to be humble enough to never stop learning from you.