It is a disturbing fact of human history that when individuals or nations find themselves in mortal danger they often turn to helpers that will not do them any good. The criminal who has been caught may seek help from a better thief rather than truly listen to someone who can lead in a direction of honest labor. The student who has not been diligent in his studies may turn to the one who is willing to aid him in cheating, rather than to the tutor who can help make the class more understandable. In Isaiah 30, the Israel that God once rescued from Egypt, now facing the threat of the Assyrians, turns back again to Egypt as a potential savior.
Why would Israel turn to Egypt for help? The answer was obvious. Egypt had horses, chariots, and soldiers, the visible things in which people put their trust. They rejected the all-powerful invisible God and determined to have faith in other solutions to their problems. God calls His people “stubborn children.” They had a plan but it was not God’s plan, and it would surely fail. Egypt would not be able to help them against the Assyrians.
The people of Israel were like children who would not hear the counsel of their father. Because of their foolish rejection of the best helper, the Lord told His prophet to write these words down as a witness for their later consideration: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust shall be your strength.”
Despite the sad testimony of their rebellion, the Lord was resolutely determined to be gracious to Israel, and He waited for them like the father in Luke 15 who was looking for his prodigal son to return home. There would be a chosen people for God in “Zion.” He would send them supernatural help and direction when He heard the sound of their cry. He was the one who had given them the bread of adversity, but even that was for a gracious purpose. It was absolutely necessary that they be humbled, and that they would cry out to Him and find help. He would grant to them a heavenly teacher. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’”
God was very capable of providing speedy deliverance. His success rate was far above all earthly powers. He could bind up the brokenness of His people. He would use whatever methods He wished to speak to His flock. We too must be willing to rest in the Savior who has worked perfectly for our salvation. Let us return to Him again in quietness and trust. Let us hear His good Word to us in the Scriptures. We will surely see the blessing of the Lord in the land of the living.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, when we face problems that are far beyond us, we should turn to You with persistence and faith. Why do we run out of energy almost before we have asked You for help? Why do we turn to the world and long for the word of false prophets? Father, our sin is deep. We need You. Teach us to run to You day by day. We are sorry for our continued rebellion against You. We know that You will hear us when we cry out to You. We trust that You will answer us and will lead us in the way of help. We turn away from idolatry and calmly rest in Your embrace. We look for Your glorious light. You will bind up our wounds. Grant us a song in the night that we might be true to You throughout the pilgrimage of this life. Help us to put one foot in front of another that we might continue on the pathway that leads to You.