July 18, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Isaiah 30:15 (NRSV)
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 refused . . . .
When I face daunting challenges, I’m tempted to trust in myself and my strength. Isaiah 30 reminds us that true, sustaining strength comes from God. Even as we work, we must learn to rest in God and God’s faithfulness.
The people of Israel were understandably frightened as the nation of Assyria threatened them. Yet God had promised to protect them if they would rely on God. Nevertheless, Israel’s leaders decided to turn to Egypt as an ally, contrary to God’s will. They just couldn’t wait on or trust the Lord to protect them. In response, the Lord rebuked Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused” (30:15). If Israel would only turn away from their sin and turn to God, if Israel would only trust in God and rest in God’s promises, then the nation would be saved. Yet, as the Lord says, “But you refused.”
That last line of verse 15 unsettles me. I wonder how many times God has offered me divine help, but I “refused.” I wonder how often God has offered me the gifts of rest and quietness, but I have been unwilling to trust God enough to receive those gifts.
I am sad to admit that I can relate to Israel’s rejection of God’s grace. Can you? Most people I know find that sometimes it is hard to trust in the Lord, to wait patiently for the Lord to speak or act. This is especially tough when it seems as if God is dawdling. Our temptation is to charge ahead of God, to make things happen on our timetable. And, at times, we give in to this temptation. We don’t literally make allies with Egypt, but we turn away from God’s help and try to do it all ourselves. At least that’s how I function sometimes.
Today, I’m reminded that what was once true for Israel is still true for me today. I will be saved from the threats in my life only as I turn to God and rest in God’s faithfulness. My strength ultimately comes, not from me, not from my hard work or ingenuity, but from being quiet, trusting the Lord, and living in the gifts of quietness and rest.
O Lord, may it be so for us!
Have you found that it’s hard to wait upon the Lord? When?
Do you ever charge ahead of God? Why? What happens when you do this?
What helps you to trust God and be patient?
Take some time to offer to God the tough challenges in your life.
Gracious God, how we need to hear this word today and each day. Our salvation comes from you and you alone. You will deliver us as we turn to you. You will take care of us as we rest in you.
Help us, Lord, to quiet our hearts enough to receive your peace. May we trust in you more fully today, so that we might receive your strength.
All praise be to you, gracious God, our Savior, our Deliverer, our Safety, our Strength! Amen.
Banner image by Aleksandar Cvetanovic on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Created to Rest: Entering Into Joyful Communion With God.
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.