Friday, October 25, 2019

Isaiah 31

Isaiah 31:1, 4-5 (ESV)
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
or consult the LORD!

For thus the LORD said to me,
“As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
he is not terrified by their shouting
or daunted at their noise,
so the LORD of hosts will come down
to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts
will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it;
he will spare and rescue it.”

Isaiah uses picturesque language in this short chapter to express the failure of God’s people to trust him, and the faithfulness of God despite their failure. Israel has done a lot of things wrong, but their primary failure was a failure to put their trust in the right place. They trusted Egypt with its horses and chariots rather than the Holy One of Israel. They trusted an ungodly source of apparent safety instead of the unseen God who had called them out from the nations.

What are we trusting? Even when we no longer trust politicians, we still act as though our hope is in politics. No president can save us unless God chooses to save us. We talk as though our security is in the Constitution of the United States, the rule of law, a stronger police force, or better laws. But these things cannot protect us unless God is in it. We live as though our security is in our retirement savings and Social Security, but these things will fail us unless God chooses to use them.

Job said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15). Daniel’s friends, when facing the fiery furnace, said, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver….But if not, …we will not serve your gods” (Dan 3:17-18). Even if God chose not to spare them, they would still trust him. That runs so contrary to our modern concept of worship.

Worship has become about us. It has become about how we feel. It has become about what we can get from God. Years ago I bought a book on prayer. It was called Getting Things from God. But worship, service, and prayer is not about getting things from God. It is about faith. It is about recognizing and believing that whether God calls us to hard things or easy things, our hope is in him, and in him alone.

Aaron Shust recorded the following lyrics written by April Geesbreght and Ed Cash. They reflect the heart of Job, and Daniel’s friends. They express the kind of faith God is calling Israel to in Isaiah. They speak of the faith to which God is calling us as Christians. God is our refuge and hope. We can look nowhere else.

I will wait on You
You are my refuge
I will wait on You
You are my refuge

My hope is in You, Lord, all the day long
I won't be shaken by drought or storm
My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long I won't be shaken by drought or storm

A peace that passes understanding is my song
And I sing my hope is in You, Lord

What is your hope today?

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