For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. But you are not willing…”

Isaiah 30:15


I am amazed at the patience of God. When I read through Isaiah God has very positive things to say about Israel and Judah. They are a rebellious people who execute plans but not the Lord’s (30:1); they go looking for help in all the wrong places like Egypt (2) and God’s people have become rather condescending towards God’s messengers (9-11).  God’s rebuke is firm and unrelenting, but understandable. When Isaiah pens the words in verse 15 we see God’s posture towards his people during this whole process:

For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. But you are not willing…”

God did not ask for penance. He was not demanding that Israel backtrack and fix everything they have broken. There is much broken in Israel. Even if we only back up into chapter 29, we see one of the core problems with God’s people – “Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from me, And their reverence for me consists of tradition learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13). Israel had turned their relationship with God into empty and hollow ritualism.

God did not create a gauntlet of punitive projects for community service either. His appeal is simple. Like most things, God’s ways are not our ways and are in spite of the stubbornness of God’s people here. There was a two-pronged invitation that ought to have sounded very encouraging: “In repentance and rest you will be saved.”

The first priority here is repentance. There is no escaping the reality that God calls his people to repent. Repent means to change one’s mind about the activity of their life. Repentance infers they stop doing things that violate the nature of their relationship with Him. They need to stop making their own plans in life and start obeying God’s instructions. They need to change their beliefs and adopt those things God calls true. They need to rearrange their priorities to match what God says is truly important. Clearly, Israel no longer valued God’s commands and had become dismissive of God ruling over their lives. This was reflected in their behaviors to worship other gods and seek wisdom and help from the nations that surrounded them. Primarily this text refers to Egypt, the very place God had delivered them from slavery.

The second statement is rest. God’s invite was that “… in rest they will be saved”. God is a refuge of rest for His people. Despite the horrendous idolatry and condescending attitude of Israel, God instructed that they find their rest in Him. They should have known by now that God was eager to reconcile and bring them back under his loving care and protection. He was their redeemer, protector, and provider.

The third and fourth statements are equally powerful – “in quietness and trust is your strength. The solution for Israel was not striving harder, but resting in their relationship with God. Israel had become their own worst enemies because they thought they were the smartest ones in the room. But God’s kindness, generosity, and compassion is amazing. What a refuge to step into when life is filled with crisis, confusion, and conflict. God himself is the place we can find quietness for our soul. When God’s people learn to trust him, they will find great strength and hope.

God’s disposition with His people is astounding. He extends His hands constantly to have his people find rest, quietness, and a refuge of safety. His compassion and mercy are amazing.

Pastor Brad