I love twice baked potatoes. They're richer than a plain baked potato. All of those ingredients together are something to be savored and eaten slowly.
So it is with this verse:
These words are like spiritual potatoes, sour cream, cheddar cheese and chives to my soul. First, there's the repentance and rest. Then the quietness and trust is mixed in and it is all stuffed back into the potato skin. Together, it is delicious; something to be savored and ingested slowly.
But there is a not-so-wonderful verse immediately following that we usually overlook--because we don't like verses that challenge our rebellion:
But you would have none of it.
God had delivered Israel out of the oppression of Egypt some 700 years before Woe-saiah's...I mean Isaiah's prophecy (Sorry, he says "Woe to you," so many times, I sometimes forget his name).
As a way of setting His people apart as a holy nation, God had forbidden the Israelites to form any alliances with a heathen nation.
Now, here they were on their way to Egypt to seek aid against Assyria rather than seeking help from Jehovah.
Woe...I mean Isaiah let them know that God was NOT happy. This is what Isaiah says to them (paraphrased):
"Woe to you, obstinate children--you're carrying out plans that are not mine, forming alliances that I didn't approve, and walking further into sin. You go down to Egypt and look to Pharaoh for protection and Egypt's shade for refuge (v 1-2).
I'm warning you--if you go to Egypt, you'll regret it. These people that you're putting your hope in will let you down. Furthermore, they're a useless people and an unprofitable nation, and they'll bring you nothing but shame and disgrace. (v 3-5). You are rebellious, deceitful, and unwilling (v9)."
"Isaiah--come on already! We don't want any more prophesies or visions of this kind. Don't you have anything nice to say? Tell us pleasant things."
"Stop confronting us!"
Wow, pretty nervy, right?
Well, don't we act the same way? Don't we essentially say the same thing? We want to hear only pleasant things, and we don't want to be confronted by God.
We are often obstinate, rebellious, and unwilling to listen to the Lord's instruction.
He tells us not to go back to Egypt, which is a symbol of our former life, a life of oppression and sin.
We remain as obstinate as the Israelites. They falsely believed that Egypt was a place of refuge and Pharaoh was a god of protection. We are no different.
We revisit Egypt expecting to find refuge and protection, only to discover that the very thing we flee to is what we once fled from.
Every time we turn our backs on God and go our own way, willfully ignore His direction, or deceive ourselves into thinking that Egypt will offer us protection...woe to us.
We flee to Egypt seeking validation from an unhealthy alliance.
offers a promise-a way out.
Not in Egypt.
Not in Pharaoh.
Not in the useless people and the unprofitable nation.
But in turning our backs on the enemy and returning to the God who loves us--the only True Source of protection and refuge.
In retreating, and sitting still, waiting for instruction, instead of running off to form unhealthy and unapproved alliances.
In receiving the peace that will flow through our minds and our souls.
In relying on God.
Let these things settle in your spirit, renewing your soul.
What is your "Egypt?" Have you turned your back and said, "Stop confronting me!" when you've heard the Lord's instruction or rebuke?
We have been given a gift in repentance, rest, quietness and trust. We only need to accept it to take the necessary steps to restoring grace.
Take heart! He is a God of compassion, mercy and grace. Remember, He is always rooting for you!
Tomorrow, we'll explore this verse a little further. Until then...
have a listen to Dennis Jernigan's, If I Could Just Sit With You Awhile
Blessings Along the Path,
Sharing this post with some of these lovely blogs
Matthew Henry Commentary on Isaiah 30