You can go your own way

Our temptation is consistently to wander away from God and to look elsewhere for help.  This is particularly true when we sense danger, like nervous sheep we seek to get away from the threat but this often means running away from the shepherd who can protect us and further into different danger.

Read Isaiah 30-31

Judah’s response to threats from northern powers was to seek protection elsewhere.  This included attempts to form alliances but it also meant that there were those who were tempted to flee to safety.  For some, that old desire to go back to Egypt resurfaced.  Egypt would be further way and offered a level of military protection that Judah could not. However, God says that this is a false solution. They are adding to their sin instead of turning from it.  They will not find safety there and because Egypt itself is idolatrous and sinful, they will be going further into danger. Exile in Egypt will be no better than exile in Assyria or Babylon (30:1-7).

The reason that the people are turning in the wrong direction, is their stubbornness, it’s because they reject God and try to silence his prophets. They turn their back on true hope, salvation and rest.  By fleeing, they are refusing the very offer that will save them (30:8-15).

Even still, God persists with a stubborn and rebellious people. He continues to plead with them. He continues to offer grace and mercy. He continues to promise a day when their suffering will end and they will be restored to the position that he desires for them (30:16-33).

God declares woe on those who turn to Egypt because they are disregarding a persistent warning, that they should not trust in horses and chariots. By looking to Egypt, they are relying on human strength to help them (31:1-5).

Instead, the people should turn back to God. He is the only one who can help them. He is the one who will defeat Assyria. Ultimately Sennacherib’s army would fail to take Jerusalem but not because of Judah’s strength, nor because of Egypt’s power to the south. Rather Sennacherib would turn back because of trouble at home. God arranged history and politics to protect his people (31:6-9).


Meditate on these words:

“Turn to him” (31:6)

At the very point when we are tempted to run and to look to other things, people and places for safety, that’s when we most need to turn back to the Lord and cling to Christ.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above[1]

[1] Come Thou Fount, Robert Robinson

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