Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Ah, stubborn children," declares the Lord

The people of Israel, hard-pressed by the Assyrians, have in mind to flee to Egypt. There they might find haven from the enemy. It's a rational, real politik kind of idea, but God will have none of it.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
Looking for shelter in the Egypts of the world is always a problem for us. Looking for shelter in places where the reigning powers are essentially hostile to God and His people.

Still, what do you want us to do, God? Just sit here? Well:
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, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
All this comes from chapter 30 of Isaiah, a prophet to whom Israel was unwilling to listen, for he spoke no "smooth words." God seems to understand that his children are not going to heed his warning. "Quietness and trust" is not for them. And yet:
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.
that's verse 18. Note, the children of God will not wait and be still, but God waits. He is not waiting for us, he is waiting for the moment, I suspect, when his mercy will have the most compelling impact, and bring him the greatest glory. The ESV Study Bible notes: "[The Lord] knows the perfect way to achieve his purpose, the perfect time to go into action, and the perfect disciplinary process that will awaken Judah."

I'm giving myself a meditation assignment today. I'm going to let verse 18 abide in my thoughts today, and learn if I can what God's waiting, and my waiting on God, really means.

1 comment:

Erin Hope said...


this is something God has been teaching me (or trying to.....) lately
Also I've been thinking a lot about what egypt represents for the israelites.... their slavery and their security....they prefer the chains because they think they are safe...

and all the stuff about the waiting part, that's encouraging. thanks.