Admonitions to Trust God for Deliverance
What word did Isaiah have for the architects of Judah‘s foreign policy with Egypt?
The woe oracle in Isaiah 30 gives us additional information concerning the alliance Judah made with Egypt.
First, the alliance with Egypt was made without the approval of God (30:1-2). Judah’s envoys, however, made the difficult journey to Egypt bearing expensive gifts with which to negotiate for the Egyptian’s help (30:6).
Second, the alliance with Egypt would not help Judah (30:3-5, 7). Isaiah described the help of Egypt (referred to as Rahab the do-nothing) as “vain and empty” (30:7).
Third, God instructed Isaiah to record the words of his prophecy which the leaders refused to heed. These written words would serve as a witness for all time. They would record the refusal of the nation’s leaders to heed the word of the Lord (30:8) and their efforts to intimidate God’s prophets to tell them only what they wanted to hear (30:9-11).
The leaders wanted to “hear no more about the Holy One of Israel” (30:11). They were eager to hear the words of the Egyptians at the negotiating table but unwilling to hear the Word of the Lord. Isaiah warned these leaders of their downfall in the coming judgment. They would be destroyed as a collapsing wall (30:13) or a jar broken and ground to dust (30:14).
Isaiah told the leaders that the path to national security lay in trusting God, a path they were not willing to take (30:15). Instead of trusting God, the leaders trusted in their alliance with Egypt and in their military might (30:16). They would however, not be successful in battle. They would be frightened away by the enemy so that the only thing remaining on the battle-ground would be a lonely flag left on a flagpole (30:17).
Practical Consideration: It is foolish to make plans apart from God.
Judah’s leaders devised a plan to protect themselves and the city of Jerusalem from the Assyrians. They plotted and schemed and discussed and negotiated and executed their plan without the approval of God. They felt confident they had done what was in the best interest of the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. They ignored the warnings of the prophet Isaiah regarding the foolishness of making plans apart from God. They forgot the words of the psalmist, “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1b). Because their plans were made without the approval of God, they were destined to fail.
Isaiah 30:18-26 describes the restoration that awaited Judah after judgment. These verses look to the day when God will again be gracious to His people and hear the sound of their cry for help (30:18). They look to the day when God’s people will heed His instruction and walk in His ways (30:19-20) as well as destroy their graven images (30:22). In that day God will shower His people with blessings (30:23-26). Isaiah 30:27-33 describes God’s judgment on Assyria.