In God We Trust

It's long since gone the way of all things, but the plaque hung on a wall in my parents' home for many years. My mother was a worrier and I had bought it for her as a reminder, particularly while I was overseas, that God was looking after business and she didn't have to fret.

" quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15) writes the prophet.

In its context, the verse is part of a broader message. It is, in fact, a call to return to the Lord. Israel struggled continually with putting her confidence in places and in people other than her God. She often trusted foreign kings and their armies to rescue her from other kings and their armies. Idol worship was always an issue—Israel took on the belief systems of her pagan neighbours, sometimes not replacing Yahweh, but adding other gods "in addition to...." Israel became like her pagan neighbours rather than being distinct from them as God had commanded her. Eventually this spiritual adultery become so serious in God's eyes that, despite many opportunities to change her ways, punishment became inevitable.

In this particular chapter of Isaiah, the Lord pleads again with His people to return to Him even though He acknowledges that they are determined to ignore His pleas and thus seal their own fate.

"Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like  high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses, suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern" (30:12-14).

Still, even though the punishment was inevitable, the opportunity to return was offered:

"This is what the the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'" and then the sad reality: "'...but you would have none of it'" (30:15).

Israel would not stop looking in all the wrong places for all the right things.

When we look at the world today, and even when we look at our own lives, we have to admit that nothing much has changed. How often do we follow the same pattern as Israel once followed? It looks faster, better, cheaper, easier, to put our trust in things and people that promise much but in the end deliver little, than it is to trust God.

The rest of Isaiah 30 is God's promise of what things will be like after the inevitable punishment is over and Israel returns to her "senses" and to her God.

" will weep no more" (30:19)

"...he will answer you" (30:19)

"...your teachers will be hidden no more..." (30:20)

"...your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (30:21)

"...the land will be rich and plentiful" (30:23)

"...the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted" (30:26

"...your hearts will rejoice..." (30:29)

"The Lord will cause men to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down.." (30:30).

This last verse refers to the Lord's judgment on those who troubled Israel as part of the punishment for her rejection of God's offer. Hopefully we won't be quite as stubborn as she was and will learn the lesson before drastic measures must be taken.

But back to verse 15, which is key. It's not that we haven't heard it time and time again, but we, like Israel, are so prone to forget where our security lies that it bears repeating. It is only in the Lord that we find salvation and only in Him that we find all that we need to live. No person, plan, possession, or place can deliver what God can. And nothing and no one can keep Him from delivering what He has promised.

Anxiety, impatience, and worry, all give way before Him because the promise of Isaiah 30:18 is true: "...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!"


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