Hello, friends! Have you noticed the days getting shorter where you are? We’re up fairly early on weekday mornings and the sun is sleeping in later these days 🙂 At least that means my morning walks aren’t quite as hot as they have been!
As we get to today’s post, I want to give credit where credit is due. These verses stood out to me when my husband taught a Sunday School lesson from this passage a few weeks ago. I was very interested to see God’s response when the Israelites rejected the plan that He had for them.
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.
And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. ~Isaiah 30:15-16, 18-19
Basically, in verse 15, God told the Israelites how they could get victory as they battled the Assyrians. It doesn’t appear that there was any cause for them to be confused or unclear. God told them his plan.
But they would not. They said “no” to God and came up with their own plan.
Let’s face it. That didn’t go well. It says they’ll try to run away, to be fast, but their pursuers will also be fast.
It’s easy to judge them for their foolishness. But let’s take a look at our own lives. How often do we say “no” to what God tells us?
Now maybe we aren’t so bold as to actually say it out loud. But that’s what we say when we ignore a command we read in His Word. Or when a pastor preaches from the Bible and our hearts are convicted, but we refuse to deal with the issue. There could be a sin we know we need to give up but we hang on to it.
What would it be like to serve a God who wasn’t longsuffering and merciful? We’d all be in a really bad place.
Because even after the Israelites tell God “no” and do their own thing, the Bible says that the Lord will wait so that he can be gracious to them. It’s not immediate judgment and fire and brimstone destruction, though that’s probably how we as humans would handle the situation! No. It says that He will be gracious and have mercy and hear their cry.
Were there still consequences to their actions? 100 percent. Verse 20 of this chapter says that they will have “the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.” But God will continue to be gracious and merciful. And just like he did with the Israelites, he is ready to act on behalf of you and me if we turn to him and ask.
I hope we have hearts that quickly say yes to God and willingly follow his commands. But when our flesh wins and we make the wrong choice, remember that God is waiting. His grace and mercy are available as we come before him and seek his face.
Let’s thank God today for his patience and longsuffering, his grace and his mercy. How blessed we are that he waits to offer them to us even when we’ve strayed from his plan!