In the 30th chapter of Isaiah the prophet is rebuking God’s holy people for placing their trust in their neighbors, the Egyptians, to save them from the attack that the Assyrian army was waging against Israel at the time. Instead of looking to God to be their salvation and security they were trusting in foreign governments and garrisons to do that.
I often read the Old Testament stories of the Israelites consistently turning to false Gods and foreign armies to protect them and shake my head. I wonder how they could continue to overlook the Living God who had promised to sustain them.
Yet, so often in our own lives we are no different. When hard times come our way we often make God our last resort instead of our first reaction. We try to fix it ourselves before we come to him for help. We may shake our heads as we read the Old Testament stories but, that same tendency towards pride and stubbornness flows through our veins as strongly as it did the Israelites.
I am so thankful for God’s patience and mercy that despite the desire his people have to try to do it our way and in our time… he waits for us to come to him. The verse that I have chosen this week is Isaiah 30:18… it is a reminder of this aspect of God’s character in the midst of the rebuke that Isaiah was giving. This verse reads very differently in several translations. I will share my favorites with you and what I like about each one:
The New Living Translation
So the LORD must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the LORD is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.
I love the picture that the first sentence of this translation paints in my mind. I see my Heavenly Father waiting with an abundance of love and compassion to pour out on me… but he cannot do so until I come to him.
The Message Translation
But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.
We may feel like the situation is hopeless and hard… but God is not finished. He makes no mistakes and all that he does is right. When we return to him and his ways he will be gracious to us and show his mercy and his mission for our lives.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
If you look up the word “longs” in the dictionary you will find that one of the synonyms for it is the word crave. The Lord CRAVES the ability to be gracious to you. There is nothing that he wants more than for you and I to come to him and seek Him. When we do so he will rise up (take a position of action) and show us compassion.
I selected this verse this week because it is a beautiful picture of God’s faithfulness to those who come to him, seek him, and trust in his timing. Memorizing this verse and the context it behind it will give me a reminder that I can share not only with myself but also with others that need to be reminded how much God loves them and wants to work in their lives… if they will put aside their own ways and instead follow His.
I am going to be memorizing the NIV version of this verse this week… which version will you work on committing to memory this week? I would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on this verse and what it means to you this week, feel free to share in the comments below or on my Facebook Page.