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Devotional: Information Inoculation

You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.     Isaiah 42:20

We have so much information streaming into our lives on a daily basis. Much of it is good—there are great podcasts of excellent preachers and teachers, there are online books, there is 24x7 news (some of which is not good because media channels retain viewers by stirring up anxiety). If you want to miss the bad news you can subscribe to 24x7 prayer rooms, and endless streams of ‘prophetic words’ and megabytes of preaching a minute. There is no shortage of information. We spend so much time drinking from the information fire hydrant that we have little time or cause to ponder. We are on the brink of information inoculation. Our heads are getting bigger, but our hearts are getting dryer. Unless…

Before I get to the “unless” let me restate the obvious. It has been said many ways, but talk without tasks leads to trouble. Revelation without application leads to religion. Pontification without practice leads to problems. Knowledge uncoupled from obedience results in mediocrity. Or as Isaiah said, 

You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.

Unless… there is an “unless” that can free us from the curse of information inoculation. We are in big trouble unless:

  • We have God’s heart for the blind, the bruised, the broken
  • We praise God even before we see the outcome of what he does (Note how verses 10 – 13 are sandwiched between his promise and his action.)
  • We are open to God doing something in a totally new way. (Verse 16 - I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.)

Have you ever wondered why we encounter so many problems in our lives? There can be many reasons, of course, but we cannot read Isaiah 42 and not see the connections between God and problems. When we drift from revelation to inoculation God is kind enough to send trouble to wake us up. It is not his Plan A, but he sometimes sends challenges when we need a wakeup call.

22 But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons.  They have become plunder, with no one to rescue them; they have been made loot, with no one to say, "Send them back." 

 23 Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come? 

 24 Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers?  Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law.

The challenge to me is clear: is my doing consistent with my knowing? God doesn’t need a head full of theory without a heart full of compassion and a calendar full of action. 

Reflections

    • Are your problems those of understanding or implementing?

    • What concrete steps can you take to prevent yourself from information inoculation?

    • Is this about regulating what you hear, or prioritizing what you do?
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