For thus says 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.”

Isaiah 30: 15

 

If only they had listened. In the days of Isaiah, God tells it like it really is, and His people still go off on their own and try to do it all in their own strength and based upon their human wisdom. The result is nothing but disaster. They are taken captive and their land is decimated and then occupied by foreign invaders. The simple take-away from all of this is that when God speaks, we should listen and respond. Yet, this is not often the way that people engage with God. We are truly a stubborn and a proud bunch that are filled with a sense of our own importance. We might like to have God around for comfort and for a sense of ritual order, but we aren’t all that willing to live as He directs.

 

So what was it that God wanted of His people in the days of the prophet? The Lord asks for something that we all struggle with giving as He asks them to return. This means that God wants their repentance, a turning away from the sinful path that the people have found to be so enticing. Like He did then, today God wants us to stop following the ways of culture and the seemingly easy course of our world. Then we can enter into a time of confession and prayer wherein we recognize the painful reality of our ownership of the harm that we have caused to ourselves and to creation and the grief that our separation from God has caused for Him. God calls the people of this world to confession and prayer that is followed by listening and responding to His voice by living out the truth of His holy word.

 

As we return to God we can truly rest in His presence. Over the long term of history the Lord has demonstrated His faithful love and His unchanging righteousness. His character and His word form the foundation for all that is trustworthy in our world. We can rely upon that word and follow the teaching of the people who were inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit to set out its instruction and direction for us. There is freedom to be found in doing this. Our worried minds can find rest and our troubled souls will be soothed by the quietness that comes from the presence of the Lord, and from this position of quiet rest, the Lord will grant to us the strength that is required to live today in the truth of His unchanging will.