This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15
I ate six of my mother-in-laws amazingly delicious homemade cinnamon rolls over the course of about four days–SIX! I knew as I put every bite of that soft, gooey, sugary goodness into my mouth that it was not the best decision I could make. I knew there would be consequences. But they were decadently divine and I wanted to eat them so I did it anyway. Therefore, it wasn’t really a big surprise when I stepped on the scale a few days later and found myself up three pounds for the week. And those three pounds are now my responsibility to take back off.
I think I’m probably not alone in making choices and taking actions that I know are not the best for me. Most of us know exactly what we’re supposed to eat, how much we’re supposed to spend, the kind words we’re supposed to use, how much sleep we’re supposed to get, how we’re supposed to solve a conflict. However, the little rebellious gene that dwells somewhere inside us often convinces us to throw what we’re supposed to do out the window and to focus, instead, on what we desire.
And when we focus on what we desire as opposed to what we know to be right, there are negative consequences that we must then contend with.
God laid out a clear path for the nation of Israel to follow. Namely, they were to follow HIM. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength. Keep Him ever before you. Teach His commands to your children. Follow His commands in your home. Worship God alone. Do what is right. (Deuteronomy 6) God knew what was BEST for His children. He set forth a plan and a path for them that would lead to rest, to peace, to fulfillment–to salvation.
But, like so many of us, they would have none of it. “We don’t need God,” they said. “We can take care of ourselves. We’re busy. We’re working hard. We’re prospering. We’re growing. We’re powerful. What do we need with repentance and contrition? What do we need with Sabbath rest? Don’t worry about God’s anger. It’s all good. Life is good.”
In their determination to know better, the people of Isaiah’s time forgot that God alone knows BEST. And their “better” led them into the worst period of devastation and despair they had known. They lost everything. Babylon descended with an almighty vengeance-massacring, plundering, and enslaving the people. Those who survived the purge of Jerusalem were marched forcibly into exiled servitude. They were stripped from the land God had given them and sent, once more, into the wilderness. Yet this time, God’s light did not go before them leading the way.
As we enter into the rush of the Christmas season, I think it’s good to stop and ask ourselves, “Are we doing God’s best, or are we relying on our own version of ‘better’?”
In REPENTANCE and REST is your salvation.
In QUIETNESS and TRUST is your strength.
Blessings and Peace,