“This what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands. Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea’” (Isaiah 48.17-18).
Is nothing gained by my obedience? Is nothing lost by my disobedience? Why am I burdened? Why am I anxious or even angry? If I have so much from the Lord Jesus, who do I possess so little of it? When I dig my heels in and do my own thing, God withholds peace and the benefits of a righteousness I possess in Christ. That is, I’m secure in Christ. Heaven is assured. My Father’s love always remains, but my choices have left me twisting in this present darkness. I have peace like a tiny rivulet rather than peace like a river.
The LORD is not only the redeemer of Israel; He is my redeemer as well. He teaches me from His Word for my benefit. He leads me in the way I should go on a daily basis. I know that the Son of God has come and has given me an understanding, that I may know Him who is true; and I am in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5.20). What is eternal life? Jesus tells me in John 17.3: “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent – Jesus Christ.” Therefore, the LORD my God teaches me for my benefit what really matters.
The LORD opened my eyes and turned me from darkness to light …from the power of Satan to His power. I have received forgiveness of sins and an inheritance divided among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ (see Acts 26.18). As I obey God and walk in the wake of His Spirit, I find peace and holiness. It floods my soul like a rivulet. This is what it means to be sanctified by faith in Christ. As I disobey, I only have rivulets of anxious sweat on my brow. Obedience and disobedience matter. My freedom to choose either direction matters.