I always considered myself to be “the good girl.”
When I was younger, I didn’t do drugs or smoke or sneak out my window at night. I made good grades. I didn’t sleep with anyone on a whim. In fact, I waited for my husband. I had “good girl” friends, participated in church and Bible study, and spent (most of) my money wisely.
But when I read Isaiah 30, I see that I have been a rebel all along, just not in the way the world would deem me so.
“‘What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,’ says the LORD. ‘You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.'” (verse 1)
Let me tell you, I have made plans contrary to God’s. I’ve made plans without consulting God. I have tried to gather people and things for protection, for success, for security that God never asked me to touch. I’ve controlled. I’ve schemed. I’ve dreamed of my own glory.
I did all this because I was afraid. Because I was insecure. Because I didn’t understand the purpose of my life. Much like the Israelites. You see, the Assyrians were threatening to run them out of town, to destroy their community, and take over their land. But instead of turning to God for help, they turned to Egypt, a country that was waning in power. But for some reason, the Israelites still sought them out for refuge and relief.
Sometimes we do stupid things, don’t we?
We turn to the world instead of turning to God. We make alliances with people who we think will uplift us, help us achieve our goals, to propel us to success. But guess what? If God did not intend for those people to be used in those ways, we will fail. We will get run over, run out of town, and run down.
Why? Because He loves us. Because He loves us so much that He wants us to learn, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He is the sole source of our hope. He is the sole source of our joy. He is the sole source of our peace.
Anything else is just empty. It won’t last. Success won’t last. Fame won’t last. Friendships can break down. Churches fail. Our children can run away. Our spouse can cheat. People die. If we build our world on these things and do not have a foundational relationship with God who sustains us, who we trust emphatically to make all things that happen work the good of those who love Him, we will run dry at some point.
We “‘will be smashed like a piece of pottery — shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.'” (verse 14)
I don’t want to be a rebel anymore. I don’t want to live for myself. I don’t want to build my life on a foundation of things that can crumble. How do I stop doing these stupid things?
“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy one of Israel, says: ‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.'”
In talking to the Israelites, God completes His thought with this chilling line:
“But you would have none of it.”
There lies my rebellion, friends. In my own planning and scheming and hoarding of glory, I would not return to the LORD because of what I feared I would have to give up. But as I watched all my plans and schemes and glory fade, I realized that nothing compares to Him.
But He waits for us so that “He can show you His love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for His help.” (verse 18)
He gathers up His rebellious ones with love, compassion, and discipline. And we learn to turn away from the stupid things of this world and find refuge and relief in Him.
Have you been rebellious? What do you hold onto in stubbornness? Are you willing to let go?