Return and Rest

“For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling.” (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)

When you are facing some trial or difficulty, what do you do? If you are like me, you probably rely on your own strength, chase down solutions, and figure out how to handle the situation yourself.

Even as believers, we are often unwilling to live the life of faith: return, rest, quietness, and trust. That is why Isaiah received these words. Judah, under imminent threat of attack from the Assyrians, was looking everywhere for protection and help except to God. Does that sound familiar?

Rather than turn to God, rest in him, and discover his strength in our quietness and trust, we look around for self-made saviors. Our problem is not God’s unwillingness to save but our unwillingness to receive his kind of salvation: turning away from our own striving to rest in God.

How do we solve this problem of our own self-reliance? We need to see more and more that turning from self-effort to resting in God is the wisest course. God stands ready to bring the deep waters of his mercy and grace into our life when we trust in him. That’s what Isaiah goes on to tell Judah:

“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18 ESV)