(If this day occurs after December 16, please refer to that date
in the list of devotions.)
A Call to Hear and Heed the Word of God
The Lord calls us to be faithful to Him – alone. Scripture tells us that our God is a jealous God who refuses to share His glory with anyone else (Exodus 20:5). We are to trust Him for deliverance from the things of this world – and deliverance from the things of this world we desperately need.
Here, Isaiah’s message from the Lord concerns Judah’s reliance, not on the Lord, but Egypt. The Assyrians were invading and, rather than trust in the Lord, the leaders of Judah chose to trust in Egypt. The irony is that Egypt was the nation from which the Israelites escaped bondage some seven centuries previous. Now they look to Egypt for help against a common enemy. “Well, what of it,” you say. “Doesn’t that make sense within the geopolitics of that time?” Well, God didn’t think so and spoke by Isaiah to warn the people of their error. The historical account is in Isaiah 36-37 and you can read there how the Lord did deliver Judah and not the Egyptians.
Then comes the word of warning and blessing that we find so often in Isaiah (and all the prophets). Isaiah describes the people in terrible terms in verses 8-14. They are “unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord.” They tell the prophets not to speak, for they only want to hear “smooth things”: “Let us hear no more of the Holy One of Israel.” Their punishment comes because they “despise the word.” It is this sin of despising the word that ultimately led to their destruction a century later. And the greater irony is that many of them did flee to Egypt at that time in disobedience to God’s word through Jeremiah (42-43).
And here is our lesson: It is the word of God, which is the Holy Bible, which is God’s enduring word for us and to us. It is in it that we hear the gracious words: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” How often we are in such personal turmoil. We look everywhere for answers, anywhere for help. The Lord would have us look to Him and find our strength in Him. Trusting in the Lord often means waiting on the Lord, “who waits to be gracious to you.” What follows is a beautiful description that prophesies the Church age in which we live: “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.’” This would be the Holy Spirit speaking through the Scriptures today, through which God binds up the brokenness of His people.