For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing… (Isaiah 30:15, NASB95)
Isaiah lived in a time of national decline and imminent disaster. The Assyrians had already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and were taking cities in Judah. Defeat seemed inevitable. Faced with an enemy that was too great for them, they appealed to Egypt for help. Egypt was a superpower with chariots and horses, the ultimate war machine of the day.
But God was not pleased. He said to them:
“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the Lord. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade.” (Isaiah 30:1-2, NLT)
Man always looks to man to bail him out of trouble. But God did not want them looking to others; He wanted them to seek HIM! The fact was that God had great plans to bless them. He said:
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18, NIV)
Their problem was that they weren’t willing to trust in God. They were looking to themselves, to their own ingenuity, and to the help of a foreign country rather than to the Lord. The Lord longed to show them grace and compassion, but they weren’t in the position to receive it. They needed to humble themselves and submit to His purpose. In repentance and rest they would find their salvation; in quietness and trust they would discover their strength.
Why is this so hard for us as human beings to accept? Why do we continue to trust in the arm of flesh rather than in the grace, compassion and power of God? One word: pride. We would rather do it ourselves than to trust in God.
If we’re going to receive God’s grace and compassion then we must first have a change of heart (repentance). We must turn from self-reliance to trusting in the Lord with all our hearts. We must cease trying to save ourselves and rest fully in His salvation. Jesus died on the cross to save us from all our sins. That is the only salvation that God accepts. As we repent from our own efforts and rest in what Christ has done for us, then we will experience His salvation. As we quietly trust in Him, then we will know His strength.
Many are going through tough times where disaster seems imminent. Yet God longs to be gracious and compassionate toward us. Have we learned to repent and rest in His salvation? Will we quietly trust Him and know His strength?
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