Tuesday, August 02, 2011

#210 "The Problem, The Prescription, The Promise"

The thirtieth chapter of the book of Isaiah begins in my Bible with the heading, "Woe to the Obstinate Nation."  Judah was being threatened by the Assyrian Empire and they sought an alliance with Egypt to ward off the threat. Rather than turning to God for protection, a strong faction wanted to seek help from Egypt, a country waning as a world power. Judah was forming plans for their survival, but they weren't God's plans. 

Sending envoys to Egypt required passing through dangerous terrain, ripe with wild animals. They took expensive gifts on the backs of donkeys and camels. Judah's people went to great lengths, hardship, and expense because of their desperation for help. They had rejected all of the counsel given to them from the Lord, through the prophet Isaiah. 

Could a chapter in the book of our lives be titled, "Woe to the Obstinate Christian?" 

The Problem     

We all have problems. Jesus promised that in this world we would have trouble, and that's a fact. You may not be in a season of sorrow, threatening circumstances, or dire situations right now, but we all go through them at one time or another. Some continue for years.

When we find ourselves surrounded by a powerful Assyrian army that threatens our well-being, and perhaps even our very survival, to whom do we turn?

Like those in Judah back in the day, we often plug our ears and refuse to listen to the word of the Lord. We reject godly counsel, all the while exerting enormous energy, and going to great lengths to devise our own plans.  

The silliest thing ever is that this people was seeking to make an alliance with the nation that used to be their taskmasters. God pulled out all the stops to lead them out of Egypt, and when they found themselves in trouble, they turned to the very nation who had held them in slavery and bondage for 400 years. 

How often do we go right back to the place of our former imprisonment when we need help?

There are all manner of "Egypts" that we can look to in our times of trouble, instead of looking up and seeking the help of the Lord. Out of a sense of panic, we sell ourselves into slavery once again to food, a bottle, a substance, a feeling, the arms of another person, be that flesh and blood real, or a fantasy on the internet. We trade the things of God for endless time on social media, to escape from having to think at all. We search for love, acceptance, perfectionism, achievement at all costs. We plot and we plan and we try and we attempt to figure our own way out. We set our feet on dangerous terrain, ripe with roaring lions, waiting in the shadows to devour us.

What is your "Egypt"? What is that place that God miraculously delivered you from, that you have that tendency to turn to each and every time you get in trouble? I can't name it for you, but you know. You know. 

That place... that "Egypt"...that's the problem.

The Prescription

What if instead of going to Egypt in search of your answers, you turned to God? What if you opened the pages of Scripture and searched for the way out, instead of tightening the shackles around your ankles once again? Here is what you would find.  

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30: 15)

When you feel surrounded, with no way out, don't panic. Just as Egypt became a useless power, one that God called, "good for nothing" (Isaiah 30:7), your Egypt will do you no good. Instead, repent from looking anywhere, and to anything, instead of the living God, for your help in times of trouble.  

Repent.

Rest.

Be quiet.

Trust.

Therein lies your salvation and your strength.

You can choose to "have none of it" (Isaiah 30: 15d), just like Judah did. A doctor can write a prescription for your physical ailment and put it in your hand, but it will do no healing good if you never take it to the pharmacy and get it filled. It will never help you if you don't take the medicine.

The Promise

Oh, I don't even have to do commentary on the promise. Scripture spells it out so plainly and wonderfully. Feast your eyes on your surety from God, if you will turn to Him, and leave Egypt in the dust, where it belongs.

"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion." (Isaiah 30: 18)

"How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you." (Isaiah 30: 19)

"Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity (are you eating that bread today?), and the water of affliction (drinking a big glass full?), your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isaiah 30: 20-21)

What a promise! What a Savior! What an amazing God! The Holy One Himself will show you what to do!

You can choose to ignore the word of God like Judah did back in the day. Woe to you! "Woe" in the Hebrew sense is a passionate cry of grief or despair in the face of a present or coming danger.

You can sit around and cry "Woe is me" as the enemy laughs, tightening the grip on your chains. Or...

You can leave your "Egypt" in the past and receive the promise of the living God. 


Coming August 31, 2011











19 comments:

  1. Such a great post full of truth. It is so easy for us to read about the Israelites and judge them. How could they be so blind after God did so many remarkable miracles right before their eyes? But yes, we also go back to familiar places, even if they aren't good for us. You're exactly right.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you will visit me as well.

    Bless you!
    Beth

    http://mydestinysharinghope.com/

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  2. I love the fullness of this post. How often, in my panic, have I run to the thing/person that will bring the quickest sense of relief instead of turning toward God? Oh, so many times. But I think I'm getting a little wiser now and am clinging more readily to His promises.

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  3. Ah, I sometimes do the silliest things, too.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  4. I love this: and don't want to return to my Egypt for answers. We make so many mistakes that we should see in the Bible are the wrong way to go! I'm also thankful for grace and for God's promises.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

    Have a God Filled Day
    Shirley

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  6. repent...rest...be quiet ...trust. I love this simple reminder....

    Blessings~

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  7. love this, thank you for sharing this!!! Just loved this reminder to trust.
    I am here from thankful thursday.

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  8. oh friend, how you speak truth. and how it convicts. thank you. xo

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  9. Donna, once again your words are exactly what my heart needed to hear. I've been struggling with fears lately -- and in being fearful I go back to Egypt -- worry or doubt and I know I need to replace it.....rest...be quiet. And trust.

    You are a blessing.

    Rachel

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  10. AMEN!! Turn to the Lord at all times, in all things! --been learning/walking out this lesson!!
    GOOD WORD!

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  11. Hi Donna,
    Your message is a needful reminder to turn to God in all situations and Trust......Thank You
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

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  12. this is really good and encouraging, thanks! =]

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  13. How I love Isaiah...GOD reveals so much of His Heart through that book...

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  14. Great blog, am a new follower!

    http://marleeindebt.blogspot.com/

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  15. Yes,the Lord told us there would be problems. I would rather have problems knowing he is by my side that having problems and not knowing the Lord.
    Blessings,
    Ginger

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  16. Thank you for posting this. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    New follower from Monday Mingle, please follow back:

    Full Cart Full Wallet

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  17. Hi, Donna.

    What a wonderful message you give us here. I've been guilty of this very thing on so many occasions. Thanks for putting this scripture story in this perspective for me. It helps. I don't want to be the obstinate Christian!

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  18. Great post. This is a wonderful lesson for us to turn to God when we are in trouble and to no one or no thing else. He is the only one who has all the answers. We need to learn from these Biblical accounts. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  19. Hi,Donna. Thanks for passing by and participating in Monday Mingle at ToughCookieMommy.com.

    P.S. Have we connected on Facebook yet?

    http://facebook.com/toughcookiemommy

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