“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,”

The context for this verse is Isaiah pointing out that, while the Israelites should be trusting in Yahweh for their protection, instead they were trusting in Egypt.  This misplaced trust is condemned in the strongest way possible. Some ways this failure of trust is described:

  • They were a rebellious people
  • Unwilling to hear the law of Yahweh
  • Unwilling to listen to the word of the prophets whom God had sent
  • They trusted in perverseness and oppression

Isaiah points out that their destruction will come swiftly and be so complete that they would be like a ceramic vessel that is shattered so completely it can’t be used for anything at all.  It is now worthless and broken.

Then the alternative that comes in our verse.  Rather than run from Yahweh, they could return to him and rest in his strength and promises.  They could trust in him.  They could live a life that proved that Yahweh really was their God and they his people.  Then the tragic finish to the verse: But you were unwilling!

Notice that ultimate failure was not in their sin of going to worthless Egypt for security and safety, nor was it not trusting in Yahweh.  Ultimate failure was not returning to and trusting in Yahweh after he called them back to himself.

This is a beautiful example of the grace of the Lord.  He could have cut them off when they abandoned him and ran for pagan Egypt.  Instead he offered a way back to fellowship with himself.  What else is this except grace in action?

Notice also that it is a type of the ultimate grace that would be offered at the cross in which God took upon himself the burden of all of our failures and sins and wrote across them: Paid in full. 

All we need to do is be willing.