“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not. Isaiah 30:15
In Isaiah 30, the King of Judah sent a caravan of diplomats to Egypt to persuade Pharaoh’s army to join a defense pact against the Assyrians. There was no prayer about the matter, no trusting in the Lord, nothing but a panicked delegation going down to Egypt. The prophet Isaiah used the occasion to preach a sermon, advising the caravan to turn around. “In returning and rest you shall be saved,” he said. “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But the people would have none of it.
I found myself in a similar situation recently. The first of this year I quit my much-loved job in the Northern Territory working with the Aboriginal people and moved my unwell husband to his hometown to be around relatives. The weather was not good for him there so we moved on to a town we knew nothing about except it was warmer and they had vineyards and a river.
Two weeks after moving here, before I finished unpacking, my husband went into hospital and after nearly 9 weeks when we thought he was improving, he died suddenly. I was left alone in a strange town with no friends or relatives.
When the relatives and friends who came for the funeral went home a day later I was terribly alone. All I could think of was jumping in my car and heading back to the territory. I immediately started looking on the Internet for a job and house there.
We had met a wonderful, strong man of God, a pastor, a week before my husband went into hospital. It was what I call a “God thing” because we had only talked with him that one time and gone to church once. Yet he came to the hospital nearly every day to spend time with my husband giving me time to go home for a break. Due to his critical condition I was staying in the hospital full-time night and day. The pastor and my husband became good friends. Both my husband and I learned to love that man of God as a friend.
After my husband died the pastor was there for me and Christ moved through him to keep me sane and on track. He told me “don’t make any decisions for at least a month”. Then when the month passed he said, “don’t make any decisions for at least 2 months”. I said OK but was still looking for work and a house in the territory.
I was just like the diplomats to Egypt, planning to load my caravan, my 4-wheel drive and head out as soon as possible. It didn’t matter about the Godly advising the pastor was giving me. I was a panicked delegation of one determined to get back to my old life, my job and people I knew in the territory. I didn’t want to see anything else, going back there would save me from the pain.
How the Lord worked to bring me to a place of trust and reliance on Him, will be a good story for later, which I will tell in future blogs. At a point I made the decision to stay here and see what doors God would open for me. It wasn’t easy and I kept longing for the territory and I still think about it but I am so glad I turned my caravan around and stayed here.
In returning to the rest I was saved from what I know would have been a disaster or worse had I gone. I stayed and rested and was saved as the Lord fought the enemy on my behalf, people prayed for me, and the pastor stood in the gap for me when I was too weak to fight. In the quietness I gained confidence in Jesus and regained my strength. And doors are opening.
The Lord wants our trust. How much harm we do to ourselves when we fail to pray or to rely on Him. How sad to see panicked believers running to Egypt when the Lord Himself can fight on our behalf. He can meet our every need. He can enable us to be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you are thinking about running to your Egypt give God a chance to help you. Rest and see how He will save you.