Horses and chariots… oh my!

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20120216-ChariotRamesses II on a chariot

Isaiah 30: 15 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 refused 16 and said, “No! We will flee upon horses”— therefore you shall flee! and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”— therefore your pursuers shall be swift! 17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee…

God’s people were frantically devising a plan of defense against Assyrian invasion. Instead of turning to the Lord for sanctuary they turned to their neighbor Egypt. Egypt had soldiers and horses and chariots, which appeared quite formidable. Yet in these verses the Lord underscored the futility of their alliance. It was God himself who sent the Assyrians to invade Israel. As such no army in the world could stop what was coming. If God’s people would but repent of their sin and return to the Lord they could find relief. But they would not.

I completely get the impulse to DO SOMETHING. That’s me. When my back’s up against the wall I tend to spring into action. As a pastor I should know to begin in a posture of prayer, leaning on the Lord for relief. But there are times when I get impatient with the Lord. I want results – NOW. So… I do what Israel did in Isaiah’s day. I take action, even if it proves ineffective because, well, at least I see something happening.

“In returning (to God) and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (v.15) 

Waiting on the Lord is one of the most difficult dimensions of faith for me personally. Maybe for you too. What would it look like for you and me to embrace rest and quietness and trust in times of trouble?

Gracious Lord when the struggles of life emerge help us to lean into you, first and last. Amen.

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