Scripture Study,  Watchman Reflections

The Divine Response: Reflecting on Isaiah 30, Part Two

Whew! Part One is done. The Stubborn Rebellion, the hard stuff. Did you read it already? If not, find it HERE. (Also, if you haven’t yet read Isaiah 30, you can read it HERE.)

Now for the Divine Response:

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, 
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." 
But you were unwilling...
- Isaiah 30:15 ESV

God lays out His design for salvation and strength, yet even within this beautiful outpouring of grace, the Israelites were unwilling to receive it. And I realized—even today, with the entirety of Scriptures at our fingertips and the finished work of the cross in our hearts—we are often unwilling to take hold of such blessed gifts as well.

When calamities appear today, when our circumstances drive us mad for reprieve, salvation and strength are ours. But are we willing to receive them?

God designed a perfect plan. He made a way where there seemed to be no way—through His Son Jesus.

Accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it’s in returning and rest that we are saved. Day-by-day. In each and every circumstance. Returning, as in repentance. Rest, as in freedom.

A life lived in debt to sin and it’s consequences is a death sentence. It’s exhausting. It’s hopeless.

Salvation is found in Jesus, choosing to take Him at His word. To come—surrendering to Him as our Lord and Savior, trading our burdens for His burdens. Trading our yoke for His. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus promises rest, and assures us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Strength to endure is found in quietness and trust. Not in searching the internet. Not in the next best fitness plan. Not in mindfulness or psychological analysis. In quietness and trust—when we wait on the Lord, believing He is who He says He is.

Psalm 46:10 reminds us to “Be still and know.” Be still translates to “let go” or “cease”. In other words: stop! Quit the searching and struggling. Know that God is…God! He will be exalted. All that He’s set forth will be accomplished. He’s seated on the throne, high and lifted up.

A heart that can be still and trust in God’s character is a strengthened heart.

But God chastens His people in Isaiah 30. His gift of salvation and strength was dismissed in pursuit of plans forged by human wisdom rather than God’s—plans based on self-sufficiency and prideful assurance that they could figure things out on their own.

Not caring to hear the word of the Lord in good times, one can assume alternative options would be preferable in bad times as well. So God lets them go. They flee on their horses, all the while God assures them the Assyrian’s horses will be just as fast. Then He waits.

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. 
For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 
- Isaiah 30:18 ESV

What is He waiting for?

Repentance. The Lord is a God of justice as much as compassion and love. Giving us free will means allowing us to go our own way—in stubborn rebellion. His arms are open, ready to extend mercy, but He waits.

The promised blessing is still there, but it waits. When the Israelites choose to defile and scatter their idols, finally declaring them unclean and purposing their hearts to serve and honor God alone, the blessings come. Their ears are open to the Lord’s counsel and direction. Their sowing is favored with rain and brings forth a bountiful harvest.

And—maybe the best and yet—God avenges their enemies. Those that sought to destroy God’s people would be destroyed by God Himself. Because He’s just, and punishing sin further exalts His standing as holy.

Are we willing yet? Salvation and strength are still ours. But in our unwillingness to yield to His will and way, God sovereignly waits.

Can we toss away the idols that have captivated our hearts?
Can we declare any allegiances to Egypt to be unclean?
Oh, that we would return and rest. Oh that we would choose quietness and trust.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, 
“My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 
Have you not known? Have you not heard? 
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 
they shall run and not be weary; 
they shall walk and not faint. 
- Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV

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