Do we have a tendency to wander from the One who cares for us and protects us? Let’s back up a bit and remember the games we used to play as small children, many times games that involved a surprise. Our devotional message today comes from author Julie Ackerman Link*, who talks about us getting a scare.
One of the early games that many parents play with their children involves a fake scare. Dad hides his face behind his hands and suddenly reveals himself while saying, “Boo!” The child giggles at this silliness.
Being frightened is a fun game until the day when the child experiences a real scare. Then it’s no laughing matter. The first real scare often involves separation from a parent. The child wanders away innocently, moving from one attraction to another. But as soon as she realizes she is lost, she panics and lets out a loud cry of alarm. The parent immediately comes running to reassure the child that she is not alone.
As we get older, our fake scares become sophisticated—scary books, movies, amusement park rides. Being scared is so invigorating that we may begin taking bigger risks for bigger thrills.
But when a real scare comes, we may realize that we, like the ancient Israelites, have wandered from the One who loves and cares for us. Recognizing that we are in danger, we panic. Our call for help does not require sophisticated words or a well-reasoned defense, just a desperate cry.
Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord,
“Who take counsel, but not of Me,
And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit,
That they may add sin to sin;
2 Who walk to go down to Egypt,
And have not asked My advice,
To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh,
And to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh
Shall be your shame,
And trust in the shadow of Egypt
Shall be your humiliation.
4 For his princes were at Zoan,
And his ambassadors came to Hanes.
5 They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them,
Or be help or benefit,
But a shame and also a reproach.”
So, what happens after we have a real scare and we cry to God? Like a loving parent, God responds quickly for He longs to have us live in the protection of His love where we need never be afraid.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
You see, trusting God’s faithfulness helps dispel our fearfulness.
In Isaiah’s prophecy in today’s text, we see the great heart of patience our God has toward us even in our worst moments. In verse 18, Isaiah says that the Lord waits “that He may be gracious” to those who fail. His exalted position is one from which He exercises mercy on our behalf.
Isaiah issues a challenge - wait upon the Lord, for He alone can bring justice into our broken world.
*Devotional message compiled by Jim Huber, from a message entitled “Boo!” by Julie Ackerman Link, in Our Daily Bread, www.odb.org, March 6, 2014.