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Quietness and confidence

The Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says, “Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.” — Isaiah 30:15

When activists see that something needs fixing, they fix it. They see a problem, identify a solution, establish a strategic plan, create a budget and goals, and move into action. Obstacles are defined as problems to be solved and problems are seen as opportunities. The can-do spirit reigns, and optimism is the only legitimate attitude. In less time than it actually takes, everything will be on track.

Jerusalem in Isaiah’s time had its share of activists. The problem was a man called Sennacherib who had a mighty Assyrian army at his disposal, and Jerusalem was in his sights! The solution to the problem was the amassing of enough power to counter the Assyrians. The Egyptians were close at hand, and a strategic alliance with them was suggested. This would be costly, but pack animals could be sent immediately with necessary bribes and gifts (Isaiah 30:6-7). If Egypt could be counted on to cooperate, the problem was solved. No problem!

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, Isaiah was holding forth. He was convinced that Egypt was worthless as a source of help—a “Harmless Dragon” with big teeth but no bite. Isaiah warned that sending ambassadors with pack animals loaded with gifts was a waste of time and money and that, if Judah persisted in this “solution,” it was only a matter of time until everything would collapse “like a bulging wall that bursts and falls” (30:13).

By contrast, Isaiah’s strategic plan was very simple. He had received it from the Lord, who said, “Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength” (30:15).

Activists do not see the wisdom of “quietness and confidence.” Their doctrine is, “God helps those who help themselves,” even though they are usually so confident in their own abilities that the help of God is rarely seen as significant unless things get really out of hand!

The Jerusalem activists were not at all responsive! “Shut up! We don’t want any more of your reports,” they shouted at Isaiah (30:10). They added, “We have heard more than enough about your ‘Holy One of Israel.’ We are tired of listening to what he has to say” (30:11).

Is any of this relevant? The Lord certainly thought so, because He told Isaiah, “Write down these words concerning Egypt. They will then stand until the end of time as a witness” (30:8). In other words, look at what eventually happened to Jerusalem, as Isaiah said it would, and learn the lesson which applies “to the end of time.”

The lesson is this: In every situation, turn to the Lord, quietly and confidently, and expect Him to work! He will!

For further study: Isaiah 30:8-17

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.