When your cry becomes a cry out – Saturday, 1st week in advent – Isaiah 30:19-21,23-26
In order to understand the texts of Isaiah we need to constantly place them within its historical context. The prophecy of this chapter relates (as that in the foregoing chapter) to the approaching danger to Jerusalem and to the desolations of Judah by the invading armies of the Assyrians from the North.
This prophecy was given at a time when the Assyrian army of King Sennacherib, King of Assyria, was about to attack Jerusalem the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. From history, we know that the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians. While Ahaz the king of Judah had aligned himself with the Assyrians, his successor, King Hezekiah wrongly read the temporary misfortunes of the Assyrians and chose to ally with Egypt against the Assyrians. It was his hope that he could break away from the yoke of being a vassal nation of the Assyrians.
Jewish ambassadors were now on their way to Egypt to seek aid against Assyria (Isaiah 30:2-6 Isaiah 30:15 , 31:1). The prophet Isaiah denounces this reliance on Egypt rather than on Yahweh. God had prohibited such alliances with heathen nations, and it was a leading part of Jewish polity that they should be a separate people (Exodus 23:32 , Deuteronomy 7:2 ). Yet as we know the cousin of stubbornness is rebellion and rather than obey, Hezekiah rebelled against the warnings of Yahweh.
Jerusalem is stubborn. They are carrying out plans that aren’t from God. They make alliances but not with the Holy Spirit. Their sin is just piling up and God hits right at the heart of their stubbornness. Egypt, as we now know through our historical study, let down Hezekiah; their help was worthless and empty. There is a lesson for all of us in this; we need to be careful who we put our trust in. Often times we make alliances with people because they agree with us. That can turn in a heart-beat and just cause more agony. God wants our trust and he doesn’t want us putting that trust in anything else.
The text of today’s first reading focuses on the hope that the season of Advent offers those who wait on the Lord. Interestingly, the verse just before our text is cute beyond imagination. While we are waiting on the Lord it is really the Lord who waits for us so that he can be gracious to us. He just wants us to align ourselves with his will.
Those who made Egypt (or whatever their stubbornness is) their confidence were left ashamed of such a decision while those who sat still and made God alone their confidence were eventually comforted. It is matter of comfort to the people of God who put their trust in him, even in their darkest hour, to know that God is on their side. Their trust in God will not mis-founded.
In this life we go through many tough moments and challenges. Sometimes we don’t understand why; but the thing that we need to remember is that God is in control. The enemy wants you to feel sorry for yourself and sit and cry about it. But when we take the things that we are going through as the work of the Lord, and say ‘I’m not going to cry about this, but I am going to cry out to my God’, He will hear us and be gracious to us and we will see the work of the Lord in our lives.