Thursday, February 14, 2008

Isaiah, Chapters 30 & 31

An illness prevented me from writing yesterday, but as we will see today, both chapters 30 and 31 of Isaiah are related to each other. Both focus on how obstinate and untrusting the nation of Israel was, and what we can learn from this. The basic message from both chapters is that Israel had lost its way. It was no longer trusting God for protection. Though God had promised to watch over and protect the nation of Israel, the people felt that this was not enough. They sought alliances with other nations, specifically Egypt, to protect them from their enemies.

1 "Woe to the obstinate children,"
       declares the LORD,
       "to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
       forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
       heaping sin upon sin;

 2 who go down to Egypt
       without consulting me;
       who look for help to Pharaoh's protection,
       to Egypt's shade for refuge.

 3 But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame,
       Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace.

 4 Though they have officials in Zoan
       and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,

 5 everyone will be put to shame
       because of a people useless to them,
       who bring neither help nor advantage,
       but only shame and disgrace." – Isaiah 30:1-5

Clearly Isaiah is saying here that Israel was not trusting in Him. We can learn from this because there are numerous times in our lives that we do the exact same thing. We try to rely on God, yet we make our own plans in case he doesn't come through. This lack of faith is no different than the lack of faith that Israel showed in the days of Isaiah. It is almost like God's word was not good enough to them. I am just as guilty of this as anyone, as I am still learning to trust Him in all things. Recently, I've felt like I have several decisions to make soon.
In those decisions I have tried to seek God, yet I find myself also trying to make my own plans. It is a very difficult line to walk.

 1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
       who rely on horses,
       who trust in the multitude of their chariots
       and in the great strength of their horsemen,
       but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
       or seek help from the LORD. – Isaiah 31:1

It's hard to sit here and avoid repeating the same lesson over and over again about trusting the Lord, but Isaiah obviously thought it was important to do so. Here, he reiterates his point that there is trouble when we rely on others before we rely on God. It's not a matter of never relying on anyone else. It's about priorities. We must put God first because He is the most important thing. It is when we don't put God first, using His strength first, that we get in trouble.


  1. In what areas do you put others' strength before God's?
  2. Why would Isaiah essentially repeat himself in consecutive chapters?
  3. Does this mean we should never rely on others?

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