A Better Path
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The chapter is titled Woe to the Obstinate Nation and contains a litany of complaints on the part of God directed to a people who insisted on finding their courage, strength, help, salvation, in all the wrong places.
When we come to verses 15 to 18 we find the summary.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show compassion. For the Lord is a God if justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Did you notice what happens when repentance, rest, quietness and trust are NOT the chosen path? Israel runs because her enemy is right behind her. She mounts fast horses but the enemy is just as fast. One of her enemies will send a thousand of her people running for cover. When five of her enemy threaten, the whole nation runs away. She is alone in her battle.
Does that sound familiar? Can you and I relate? I’ll bet we can. When we chose to fight our own battles or enlist the help of people or resources other than God, we discover, as Israel did, that we are always running, and always running scared. The least threat sends us into panic. We feel alone even surrounded by all those other resources we have mustered to help us through.
The promise is beautiful: Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you… Stop running. Stop counting on everything and everyone else to rescue you. Stop thinking you can handle it. Repent, rest, be quiet, and trust in God. Wait for Him. Discover that His path is the only path that will relieve the anxiety, the fear, the flight, that might be characterizing your life, and mine, today. Instead enjoy salvation, strength, grace, compassion, justice and blessing, and the presence of God.
Sounds like a much better path to me.