I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint…
“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
It is covered with gold and silver;
there is no breath in it.”
20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth be silent before him.
Before moving on further into the third chapter, I want to take a step back into chapter 2. This chapter is, we might say, ‘book-ended’ with the idea of waiting for God to speak. In the first verse the prophet stations himself where he is ready and available to hear the Lord. In the last verse, the whole world is called to be quiet before God; (and the inference seems to be from verses 18,19 that this is because the Lord actually speaks, in contrast to the dead and dumb man-made idols).
So we are back with the call to wait on the Lord and for the Lord.
But this will, more often than not, require patience.
Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32).
In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Chriatian comes to the house of the Interpreter, and is shown two children, one named Passion and the other Patience. Passion is discontented because his Governor wants him to wait until the next year to have his treasures; Patience waits calmly for his own. Someone brings Passion a pile of treasures, and Passion, laughing at Patience, plays with them. But a little later, Passion dissolves into a pile of rags. The Interpreter explains that Passion symbolizes people of this world, while Patience symbolizes people who look for the world to come. Eventually, Patience will be given everlasting glory.
Patience is willing to wait.