“But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.”
Isaiah 32:8 (ESVUK)
The word “noble” is not often used these days. It can sound outdated, archaic, as if it belongs to the Victorian age or to the days of knights and chivalry. It denotes the idea of conducting oneself with virtue and honour in a worthy cause, and of thinking not only about one’s own welfare, but also about the greater good of those around us.
In chapter 32:1-8 of his book, Isaiah is looking forward to the reign of the righteous king, which is a prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is comparing the dishonourable ways of society in Isaiah’s time to the honourable ways of the kingdom to come. Fools, meaning those who “utter error against the Lord” and whose hearts are “busy with iniquity”, are regarded as noble when in fact they are not (vs 5-6). Scoundrels, another word that can sound old-fashioned to our ears, plan “wicked schemes” and their devices are evil (v.7).
It is in contrast to the actions of fools and scoundrels that Isaiah points to how the truly noble behave. Noble people don’t just claim to be noble because of heredity or descent or by dint of being close to the king or queen. Rather they illustrate being noble by planning noble things and by standing up for what is right. To be noble is to act nobly. To be kind is to act kindly. For us, to be Christian is to act Christ-like because Jesus lives within us, and to plan to do Christ-like things.
Planning is thinking ahead. Following Jesus is not just a question of having good and Christian reactions, but it also involves making intentional and deliberate plans to do something kind, loving and, as Isaiah says, “noble” for other people.
Do you plan noble things?
Help me, please, eternal Father, to put my Christianity into practice and to plan noble things to encourage and help others. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author: James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This week James us speaking in our Great Baddow congregation.
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