Isaiah 30: Wait for Instruction

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, Isaiah 30:15

Chapter summary


God’s obstinate people persist in seeking foreign alliances rather than relying on the Lord.  They even pressure God’s prophets to say only what they want to hear rather than deliver the Lord’s messages.  This refusal to listen means destruction.  Yet God longs to be gracious to them.  And one day, when at last they cry out to Him for help, God will be gracious to Israel and shatter His peoples’ enemies.  But Isaiah must leave his bright vision of Israel’s distant future and return to the situation of his contemporaries.  He predicts woe to those who rely on Egypt, and as a token of His ultimate grace God will shield Jerusalem even now.  This last promise was kept.  In the days of Hezekiah Assyria devastated Israel and invaded Judah, but Jerusalem was rescued by an act of divine intervention.  As God acted then, He will act in the future to keep His other promises.  The present may be dark, but the future is bright for the Jews.

Key verse.  30:15:  This is still God’s prescription for salvation.

Returning entails repentance.  Rest:  For a similar idea, see 28:12.  Quietness and confidence may be rephrased as “utter trust.”  Trusting in God’s strength instead of our own is the only way we can find true rest.

To whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” And, “This is the refreshing”; Yet they would not hear. 28:12

Personal application.  See in the present blessings you enjoy God’s guarantee of a glorious future.

30:33 Tophet, located south of Jerusalem, was the place where the valleys of Hinnom and Kidron met.  It was probably a deep, wide pit containing a bonfire of blazing wood, where children had at times been burned to death as offerings to pagan deities (2 Kin. 23:10; Jer. 7:31; 19:6, 11-14).  The area has filled in significantly through the centuries.  Brimstone is a reminder of the fiery destruction of Sodom (34:9, 10; Gen. 19:24).

33 For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; The breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it.

⇒ When we see a crisis coming our way, it is hard not to react.  Our instinct is to run.  Run to anywhere but be stuck here and now.  So, Isaiah 30:15 is an important instruction that let us know what our modus operandi should be.  Only when we inquire of God, we will know what we need to do and then we can act rather than react.


The Futility of Reliance on Egypt

30 1  “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin; 2  Who walk to go down to Egypt, And have not asked My advice, To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, And to trust in the shadow of Egypt! 3  Therefore the strength of Pharaoh Shall be your shame, And trust in the shadow of Egypt Shall be your humiliation. 4  For his princes were at Zoan, And his ambassadors came to Hanes. 5  They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them, Or be help or benefit, But a shame and also a reproach.” 6  The burden against the beasts of the South. Through a land of trouble and anguish, From which came the lioness and lion, The viper and fiery flying serpent, They will carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, And their treasures on the humps of camels, To a people who shall not profit; 7  For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose. Therefore I have called her Rahab-Hem-Shebeth.

8  Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever: 9  That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord; 10  Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 11  Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.” 12  Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise this word, And trust in oppression and perversity, And rely on them, 13  Therefore this iniquity shall be to you Like a breach ready to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant. 14  And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter’s vessel, Which is broken in pieces; He shall not spare. So there shall not be found among its fragments A shard to take fire from the hearth, Or to take water from the cistern.” 15  For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, 16  And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”– Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses”– Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! 17  One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee, Till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain And as a banner on a hill.

The Promise of God’s Grace to Israel

18  Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him. 19  For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. 20  And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. 21  Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. 22  You will also defile the covering of your graven images of silver, And the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; You will say to them, “Get away!” 23  Then He will give the rain for your seed With which you sow the ground, And bread of the increase of the earth; It will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed In large pastures. 24  Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground Will eat cured fodder, Which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan. 25  There will be on every high mountain And on every high hill Rivers and streams of waters, In the day of the great slaughter, When the towers fall. 26  Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the Lord binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound.

The LORD’s Judgment on Assyria

27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, Burning with His anger, And His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, And His tongue like a devouring fire. 28 His breath is like an overflowing stream, Which reaches up to the neck, To sift the nations with the sieve of futility; And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, Causing them to err. 29 You shall have a song As in the night when a holy festival is kept, And gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, To come into the mountain of the Lord, To the Mighty One of Israel. 30 The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard, And show the descent of His arm, With the indignation of His anger And the flame of a devouring fire, With scattering, tempest, and hailstones. 31 For through the voice of the Lord Assyria will be beaten down, As He strikes with the rod. 32 And in every place where the staff of punishment passes, Which the Lord lays on him, It will be with tambourines and harps; And in battles of brandishing He will fight with it. 33 For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; The breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it.


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