Chewing on some verses in Isaiah this morning.
So much I still don’t really understand of the prophet’s writings. So much to navigate. For example, what day is “in that day”? When is that day? What in the prophetic writing was for that time and what is for a future time? Or, even if that day has already happened, is it still yet to happen? Ugh! My head hurts.
But while I might not have all the dots connected, the patterns are pretty clear. God calls, the people refuse. God persistently warns, the people consistently ignore. God declares, “I will deal with your rebellion”, the people, in effect, respond, “Prove it.”
Also running through the prophet’s writings is the amazing, recurring theme of God’s sovereign determination to not only maintain a remnant but to, one day, win back His people. And so, the way of salvation is repeatedly declared to a people who won’t hear. And the promise of gracious intervention surfaces, again and again–the God of grace determined to do what must be done in order to bring people to their senses and back into relationship with Himself.
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling . . . Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. . . . And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” . . . Then you will defile your carved idols . . . You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”
(Isaiah 30:15, 18a, 20-22 ESV)
I read these verses and I think to myself, “Self, this is your story.”
How many times did I hear the way of salvation but was unwilling? Heard about repentance and returning and kept going my own way? Heard about resting in the finished work of Someone else and yet believed I’d make it based on my best efforts? Heard the Good News but responded, “I’ll do it my way”?
But God waits to be gracious. Patiently leverages opportunities to make Himself known–to exalt Himself–so I might be readied to receive the mercy He wants to show me. It’s His kindness that allows me to taste “the bread of adversity” and drink the “water of affliction” that I might be ready to respond when the Teacher lovingly reveals Himself to me. And having ears to hear–and that, by His gracious work alone–I’m able to detect that still, small voice of His Spirit whispering, “This is the way, walk in it.”
Not, “This is the entire plan for your whole life.” Not, “Here is each step, from now to the end, so that you might know what lies ahead.” Instead, “This is the way.” This is the general direction of the way–the way of the kingdom (Matt. 6:33), as revealed in My word. This is what will enable you to walk in the way–not your might, nor your power, but My Spirit (Zech. 4:6). This is the promise that will ensure you finish your sojourn in the way–that the work I’ve begun in you, I will finish (Php. 1:6). This is why, regardless of circumstance, you can believe the promise, and find the rest, that comes from the way–because of the death, burial, and resurrection, of My Son, your Savior (1Cor. 15:1-4, Rom 8:37-39).
And, in having ears to hear, and eyes to see, and a new heart able to receive, the idols that can so enslave me, the idols that continue to woo me, the idols that refuse to let go of me, by His grace and power, are deemed trash. And, to them I determine to say, “Be gone!”
And, in quietness and trust is my strength.
Yeah. That’s kinda ‘ my story.
By His grace. For His glory.