God Can Be Your Teacher

By Mark D. Roberts

July 23, 2023

Scripture — Isaiah 30:20 (NRSV)

Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.


In difficult times it can feel as if God is absent. But, in fact, God is present not only to comfort us, but also to teach us. In adversity, we get better acquainted with God our Teacher.


Though God showed immense patience with the people of Israel, sometimes their persistent rebellion brought divine wrath. They received “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction” (30:20).

Yet God did not abandon wayward Israel. The Lord remained with them, and, in time, was revealed to them as their Teacher. In times of suffering, it can seem as if God is completely absent. We wonder if God has forgotten about us completely. The good news is that the Lord continues to be with us, even when it doesn’t feel this way. In time, God will be revealed to us with new clarity and intimacy. God will teach us, and we will be in a place to learn with open minds and hearts.

As Christians, we understand that Jesus is our teacher. Sometimes we neglect this truth, perhaps because we don’t want to be numbered among those who see Jesus only as a “good teacher,” or perhaps because Jesus’s teaching about the kingdom of God is hard to understand, or perhaps because we find elements of Jesus’s teaching unsettling to our comfortable lives. Jesus the teacher doesn’t just give us a few “keys” or “secrets” to better living, leaving us otherwise intact. Rather, he confronts us with the astounding and disruptive proclamation of the kingdom of God. He calls us out of our comfort zones and into a life of following him. Jesus the teacher asks questions of us and stirs up our questions of him. Yet, when we heed his teaching, when we believe and live his word, then we begin to walk in the way of divine blessing and ultimate meaning. We discover that we are essential participants in God’s kingdom mission, that our daily work matters eternally, and that God will use us in ways that exceed our wildest dreams. (If you’d like to know more about Jesus’s teaching on the kingdom of God, you can check out this piece on our website: Jesus and the Kingdom of God – What You Need to Know.)

Today is a great day for you to commit yourself once again to learning from Jesus, your wonderful teacher.


Have there been times in your life when you were “feasting” on adversity and suffering?

In those times, did you sense God’s presence, or did God seem to be hiding?

When have you known God as your teacher?

In what ways is Jesus your teacher? Can you think of something you have learned from Jesus recently?

How might you attend more consistently to the teaching of Jesus?


As you begin your work today, ask Jesus to be your teacher.


Gracious God, when I experience difficult times, my suffering is multiplied by your apparent absence. Sometimes when I cry out to you, it feels as if you’re a million miles away. Though I realize that you have your reasons for “hiding” from me, I must confess that I don’t like it one bit.

Yet, when I can’t feel your presence, I find that my longing for you increases. I want you more and more. Thus, I’m ready to welcome you in my life as my Lord, my Comforter, and, yes, my Teacher.

Thank you, Teacher, for making yourself known to me… through Christ, through the Scriptures, through the whispering of your Spirit, through the grace of your people, through the bread and the cup, and in so many other ways. How good it is to know you and learn from you whether I’m at work or home, in church, or in my neighborhood. May I learn more from you each day. Amen.

Banner image by Lexscope on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Paradise High.

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Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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