Isaiah 31

This chapter repeats in summary form much of the content of the previous chapter.

We can have our own equivalent of ‘Egypt’ (1-3). God is continually calling His people to put their trust in Him (1b; see also Zechariah 4:6 for the enunciation of a very important principle: ‘’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit…’’). For ourselves, we repeatedly are seduced by what appears outwardly great and impressive, and numerically strong: ‘’Impressed by military mathematics, awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders…’ The Message. But however good the Egyptians looked on paper, as potential allies, God knew that they were going to ‘’stumble’’ (3) and that they would take Judah down with them (3). He Himself would bring this about. If what you lean your weight on is shaky in the first place, it will fail to support you in the critical moment. Who would want a walking stick riddled with woodworm?

God’s Word supplies us with armfuls of reasons to trust Him. Why should the people of Judah trust in the Lord and not in a political alliance with Egypt? Because He is like a ‘’great lion’’ who is unafraid of a whole lot of shepherds banded together against Him. He is also like a mother bird protecting her nest (4, 5). The Lord will ‘’pass over’’ Jerusalem and rescue the city. There is in (5) a direct reference to the events surrounding the Exodus (see Exodus 12:12, 13). We have every reason to trust Him because of WHO He is.

Not surprisingly, then, the call comes to return to this great God (6). Isaiah could see that when the predicted judgment fell, the people would then see the futility of their man-made idols and discard them (7). He was saying, ‘’Wouldn’t it be much better to do this now?’’ (See also 30:22). Who would want to be on the wrong side of the God who fears no-one and no thing? ‘’…he is not frightened..’’ (4).

Not only were the people of Judah called to return to the Lord and trust Him because He is this powerful and protective God (4, 5), unafraid and undisturbed; but also because He will deal with the Assyrians (8, 9; see 2 Kings 19:35, 36). ‘’Terrorized, that rock-solid people will fall to pieces, their leaders scatter hysterically.’’ The Message. They don’t have to go to Egypt for help, but look to Him. His glory is in Jerusalem, and from there His terrifying fire of judgment will break out upon the nations (9). God will go and see to the school bully if they will just keep His company and stand in His shadow. He’ll deal with them – IF ONLY THEY WILL TRUST HIM!

‘’To Isaiah there was no cause for fear when Sennacherib’s legions were encamped on the mountains of Zion. He, at least, realized that the pinions of Almightiness were between the cowering citizens and the dreaded foe. Warm and safe was such abiding. How wonderful that Jesus should have appropriated this metaphor, and spoken of Himself as willing to gather Jerusalem under His wing to save her from a more terrible fate! Does it not bespeak his consciousness of Deity that He should hide the people under the shadow of his care? This may be our daily portion…Always believe that Jesus stands between you and what you dread.’’ F.B. Meyer: Great verses through the Bible, pp. 280, 281.

Prayer: Lord please show me whenever and wherever my trust deviates from you. Help me to recognise it if I should ever start to erect an idol. I want to stay faithful to you, and please you always.