Questions From Readers
Why does Isaiah 30:21 speak of Jehovah’s word as coming from “behind you,” since the preceding verse Isa 30:20 places Jehovah in front by saying, “Your eyes must become eyes seeing your Grand Instructor”?
Isaiah 30:20, 21 reads: “Your Grand Instructor will no longer hide himself, and your eyes must become eyes seeing your Grand Instructor. And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: ‘This is the way. Walk in it, you people,’ in case you people should go to the right or in case you should go to the left.”
Taking the text literally, the reader sees Jehovah, the Grand Instructor, in front of him but hears His voice from behind. The words, however, are figurative and should be understood in that way.
The figure of speech that Isa 30 verse 20 brings to mind is that of a servant attending to his master, ever ready to act on the master’s instructions. Just like a servant who attentively observes his master’s hand in order to discern the indication of his will, Jehovah’s people today carefully fix their eyes on the progressive Bible-based instructions that Jehovah gives through his earthly organization. (Psalm 123:1, 2) Yes, they act on his direction, being alert to whatever Jehovah indicates through “the faithful and discreet slave.”—Matthew 24:45-47.
What, then, of the word that his servants hear from behind? It is reasonable to conclude that the voice from behind is God’s voice from the past, speaking through his written Word as it is made plain through his “faithful steward.” (Luke 12:42) God’s modern-day servants hear his voice by diligently studying the Bible and by applying its principles in their life with the help of publications prepared by “the faithful and discreet slave,” “the faithful steward.” By looking to, being alert to, the timely direction that the Grand Instructor provides and by studying the Word of God, written centuries ago, his servants figuratively see him in front of them and hear his voice from behind.—Romans 15:4.