Waiting for God or turning to people
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)
Read Isaiah 30
Hello people of God,
Have you seen the verse above before? It’s a pretty famous verse we have on a plaque in the office. I have seen it in Christian bookstores, and in people’s homes - It is a beautiful portion of scripture. But, like most lines plucked out of scripture without a context, we really don’t get the whole story of the verse – the spiritual truth is there, but we have no idea why it was spoken through the prophet to God’s people. Here is the whole verse: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isa. 30:15 NIV). Now you are intrigued! Now you have to go to Isaiah 30 to read what is going on therein.
Let me give you some background. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, after 400 years of bondage, their deliverance by God through Moses came with some instructions. One of the biggest warnings was to make no “covenants” or agreements with other nations (Ex. 23:32). They were to trust the Lord completely for everything they needed, including protection from invading nations. God was to be their defence, refuge, strength, ever present help in time of need! However, like most of us, whenever we are afraid, and our life feels threatened, we run to the familiar, the closest available, and the easiest for help. When we do that, we have displayed trust in something or someone other than God, which technically, is the definition of idolatry. This is what Isaiah 30 is all about. When King Hezekiah was facing invasion from the Assyrian army, he had an option of getting help from Egypt, the very people from whom God had delivered the Israelites. It is quite a dilemma King Hezekiah, king of the southern kingdom of Judah was in. Hoshea, King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel had sought help from Egypt. You can read about in 2Kings 17-20, which I encourage you to do. See, there comes a time in a Christian’s walk when he or she will be put to the test with some difficult choice, where walking by faith in God will be the only right option, but the temptation to turn to others for help will be very strong. Have you been there? In a nutshell, it is called “compromise”. We can reason in our own minds why we should just seek help from others rather than God, but that makes us like the “surrounding nations” who don’t know God. We know God! And that makes all the difference. When we are faced with a dilemma, will we wait for the Lord or turn to man? What if all your advisers are telling you to take the easy route? Friends, this is not easy, but I believe Isaiah 30 has some clear instructions for staying true to our God and winning the battle of faith.
Isaiah 30:1 is clear – judgment has come because the “obstinate (rebellious) children chose their own plan rather than God’s. They were not led by the Spirit of God, but rather a spirit of fear. What motivates our decision making? Verse 2 clearly says that the leaders chose to “seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt” (NASB), rather than the shelter of the Almighty (Ps. 91:1) – they did not consult God! For that choice there would be consequences (vs. 6-17). Oh friends, are we people who are led by the Spirit of God or the flesh – there are only two options (Gal. 5:16-25). You know you’ve lost your way when you say, “stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” (30:11) because you don’t want to hear from the prophets God sends to you.
In the middle of the consequences we have reaped, God reminds us, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” God calls us to himself, so that He can restore us after we have gone our own way and ignored the Spirit’s leading. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (30:18). What a picture of grace and mercy! He calls us to turn back to Him and receive grace, restoration, and blessing. How many times has He forgiven His people for not choosing Him first? He is so patient and kind. But…how many times have we missed God’s best for us because we went our own way? How many times have we suffered consequences we did not have to receive if we had only listened to His voice, and not the voice of ungodly advisers. Verse 21 seems to indicate that even when we get off the path, and have turned to the right or left (Joshua 1:7), His voice is still calling us back onto His path. When we return, He rises up and destroys our enemy for us, and covers our shame from the mistake we’ve made (vs. 27-33).
The key to this passage is found in the waiting: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” Repent means turn from the world’s ways, to God’s ways. And rest/wait for Him to move. Sit still in quiet and trust your God to deliver you! Waiting is hard but the rewards are great. Let us fight the desire to take matters into our own hands – let God be God! “
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. (Isa. 40:31 NASB)
Have a great week listening to His voice!