The Wait Awakening (Isaiah 30:1-33)

Speaking of Vladimir Putin…

He is notorious for keeping world leaders waiting. Angela Merkel was kept waiting 4 hours and 15 minutes for a meeting with him in 2014.

To quote Daniel LaRusso, “What goes around comes around.” In late 2022 a video of Putin being kept waiting by Turkish PM Erdogan went viral. It was 50 seconds that seemed like 5 hours due to Putin’s nervous fidgeting.

The nation of Israel kept the LORD waiting.

In verse eighteen we read, “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you.”

Throughout their history, Israel has caused the LORD to wait:

  • After Abraham was called by God, he went as instructed to Bethel. There was a famine. Abraham decided, on his own, to go to Egypt. It caused a five year delay.
  • On the border of the Promised Land, the giant-fearing Israelites refused to enter. It resulted in a forty-year wait.
  • In the first century, the leaders of the nation rejected Jesus as Messiah. The Kingdom of God on Earth has been delayed over two-thousand years.

God waits because He is “gracious.” “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.”

God waits; we wait.

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 When God Waits For You He Exalts His Grace, and #2 When You Wait For God You Example His Grace.

#1 – When God Waits For You He Exalts His Grace (v1-18)

SyFy fans accept time travel as a necessary plot element that does not need to be explained, or make sense. Our heroes alter or eliminate timelines and it sorts itself out in the end.

God is always right on time. He is never late; He is never early. How, then, can we make sense of God waiting for us, or us for Him?

The answer is, “Yes.” And by that I mean that despite all the genuine waiting, God is always right on time.

A.W. Tozer noted, “God’s plan will continue on God’s schedule.”

Isa 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;

They didnot seek His “counsel.” Their “plans” were “not of [God’s] Spirit.” They were carnal, fleshly, worldly. It compounded their sin.

It is woefully easy to substitute human wisdom for God’s leading in making our plans.

The southern kingdom of Judah was facing annihilation from the advancing Assyrian army. Rather than seek the LORD, they allied with Egypt.

It’s one thing to study the Bible and get excited about the strange but wonderful ways the LORD chose to deliver His people. It’s another thing to see an army of over 185,000 soldiers advancing on your gates, and trust that the LORD was going to do something supernatural. We see Goliaths when we should have the sight and insight of David, who saw God.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to [the] known God,” said Corrie Ten Boom.

Isa 30:2  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!

Isa 30:3  Therefore the strength of Pharaoh Shall be your shame, And trust in the shadow of Egypt Shall be your humiliation.

Isa 30:4  For his princes were at Zoan, And his ambassadors came to Hanes.

Isa 30:5  They were all ashamed of a people who could not benefit them, Or be help or benefit, But a shame and also a reproach.”

The northern kingdom of Israel had previously made an alliance with Egypt. When the time came for them to honor it, they did not. They could not be help or benefit… But were a reproach.

“Counsel,” “plans,” “advice” from the Wonderful Counselor were available to Judah. They are so much more available to you:

  • We have the complete Word of God.
  • Every Christian has God the Holy Spirit indwelling them.
  • No appointment is necessary. Seriously.

Isa 30:6  The burden against the beasts of the South. Through a land of trouble and anguish, From which came the lioness and lion, The viper and fiery flying serpent, They will carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, And their treasures on the humps of camels, To a people who shall not profit;

Isa 30:7  For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose. Therefore I have called her Rahab-Hem-Shebeth.

A caravan took gifts to Egypt to ratify the treaty. Travel was always treacherous. Predators would see the donkeys and camels as prey. Vipers lay in wait for the travelers. They were risking their lives for nothing, in the desert, when they could have been home, enjoying life, and looking forward to the deliverance of the LORD.

The world is perilous to believers. Don’t be where you are not supposed to be.

Rahab-Hem-Shebeth has a ton of definitions. They all have to do with being a big talker who does not follow through when the need arises.

It borders on insanity to seek counsel, plans, and advice from the world, i.e., from any source that is not Christian.

Isa 30:8  Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever:

Isa 30:9  That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;

Isa 30:10  Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.

Isa 30:11  Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.”

They willfully rejected the “path” God set for them. They wanted God and His representatives on Earth, the “seers” and “prophets,” to quit leading them. Fleetwood Mac’s Go your own way was their song.

Isa 30:12  Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise this word, And trust in oppression and perversity, And rely on them,

Isa 30:13  Therefore this iniquity shall be to you Like a breach ready to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.

Isa 30:14  And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter’s vessel, Which is broken in pieces; He shall not spare. So there shall not be found among its fragments A shard to take fire from the hearth, Or to take water from the cistern.”

Their treaty with Egypt was fragile, and would break at the slightest sign of trouble. It’s the old sand versus rock foundation. Whatever you think you are building – a marriage, a family, a career – build on what is solid, on Jesus. All else is sinking sand.

How do you build? Marriage, for example. God’s sure foundation is that marriage be a binding covenant of companionship between one biological male and one biological female in an exclusivemonogamous, heterosexual union that lasts until the death of a spouse.

Isa 30:15  For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,

The LORD’s counsel & advice was: Return to Him… Rest in Him… Be quiet… Have confidence in Him.

It’s the great spiritual prescription & it’s available over the counter.

Isa 30:16  And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses” – Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses” – Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!

Isa 30:17  One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee, Till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain And as a banner on a hill.

If a large army is bearing down on you, you think you need more horses to meet them in battle. But even if Egypt had answered their call for help, it would not have been enough. You can’t win against the enemy of your soul using carnal weapons.

When David said he’d slay Goliath, King Saul put his armor on David. It was ridiculously too large. If anything, it would hinder David. Yes, he took a slingshot and 5 stones. But I think we all understand that Goliath was defeated by the LORD’s strength.

Isa 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…

The LORD will wait for what? For His children to return and enter His rest. Whether it is five years, or forty years, or over two-thousand years, He waits.

His longsuffering waits for unsaved sinners.He is not willing that any should perish for eternity.

Waiting doesn’t mean that God is not active. At the very least, He is like the father of the infamous Prodigal Son. That father was active, looking for the return of his son daily.

Other times, the LORD directly intervenes, keeping the narrative of His redemption moving forward. Jonah, for example got a little more prompting to return to the LORD than did others in the history of God’s grace and mercy.

When we say that God’s waiting exalts Him, we mean that it reveals His grace. We agree with the apostle Paul, that we should not sin, or think lightly of sin, because of God’s abundant grace. God forbid we would sin that His grace might abound.

But know this: When we sin, His grace does abound. He is merciful, not giving us what we deserve.

He is “a God of justice.” God does not merely overlook your sin. He justifies you, declaring you righteous.

Have you been justified by faith? Or is God still waiting for you?

#2 – When You Wait For God You Example His Grace (v14-33)

  • I’ve heard that a shepherd only leads his flock, walking ahead of them. He never drives them. (I’m not sure it is 100% true).
  • Footprints in the Sand is a poem that describes the times when, in our walk with the Lord, instead of two sets of footprints – His & ours – there is only one set. “It was then that I carried you,” says Jesus.
  • We think in terms of following Jesus because, after all, He calls us to follow Him!
  • Jesus appeared to two disciples on the Emmaus Road after His resurrection. He walked next to them.

Jesus leads us, we follow Him, He walks with us, or He carries us. In our next set of verses, we are told He sometimes walks behind us.

Isa 30:18  … Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Isa 30:19  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.

Isa 30:20  And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers.

They needed discipline, so God put them on bread & water, so to speak. But when their rebellious defiance gave way to crying out to Him, He would answer. Their spiritual blindness in chapter twenty-nine would be healed so that their “eyes shall see your teachers.”

Who doesn’t like a good restoration? Whether furniture, a house, or a classic vehicle, you appreciate the workmanship that went into the project.

If you are not a believer, you need regeneration before restoring. You must be born-again.

Believers are God’s workmanship. Unlike furniture & cars, we are not inanimate. We can give the Master Craftsman lip by resisting His workmanship. He will be faithful to continue our restoration, i.e., His workmanship. But we can cause interruptions.

Isa 30:21  Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.

There’s a military expression, “Cover my six,” or, “I’ve got your six.” The back of a person is the six o’clock position, and to cover it means to protect it.

God’s got your six.

In verse twenty-one, you are listening for the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit to encourage you to the right or to the left. Long before the Mandolorian, He tells you “This is the way, walk in it.”

  • If you go God’s way, He will cover your six.
  • If you go your way, your six is exposed to the enemy.

Isa 30:22  You will also defile the covering of your images of silver, And the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; You will say to them, “Get away!”

Judah would destroy the idols of silver & gold she had been worshipping, and the corresponding behaviors that went along with worshipping them.

We cannot clean-up our lives in order to come to Jesus. He died for us on the Cross to accomplish as our Substitute what we never could.

After you have been in a relationship with Jesus for a while, it is common for you to add things to your life that can weigh you down in your walk. I can’t tell you what those things are for you, but the indwelling Holy Spirit can.

Isa 30:23  Then He will give the rain for your seed With which you sow the ground, And bread of the increase of the earth; It will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed In large pastures.

Isa 30:24  Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground Will eat cured fodder, Which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan.

The Jews were promised physical blessings for obedience. We are not. We have the Promise of God, namely the indwelling Holy Spirit. We have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. We have everything we require to live godly lives.

Isa 30:25  There will be on every high mountain And on every high hill Rivers and streams of waters, In the day of the great slaughter, When the towers fall.

Isa 30:26  Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound.

Global warming is encouraged in the Bible!

You immediately recognize these verses as a description of the far future:

  • They reveal the end of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble we commonly call the Great Tribulation.
  • They reveal changes to the Earth & its atmosphere in the Millennial Kingdom that followed the Tribulation.

I’d like to hear from the Answers in Genesis guys about the moon being as bright as the sun, and the seven-fold brightness of the sun.

A bit of insider trading advice for you: Invest in sun screen.

Isa 30:27  Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, Burning with His anger, And His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, And His tongue like a devouring fire.

Isa 30:28  His breath is like an overflowing stream, Which reaches up to the neck, To sift the nations with the sieve of futility; And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, Causing them to err.

This is the Second Coming of Jesus. As you know, He returns while the Battle of Armageddon is raging in the Vally of Megiddo. He easily defeats the world’s armies.

Isa 30:29  You shall have a song As in the night when a holy festival is kept, And gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, To come into the mountain of the LORD, To the Mighty One of Israel.

The phrase “in the night when a holy feast is kept” is a reference to the first Passover. At the time of Israel’s future national salvation, there will be a new Passover song for Israel.

Isa 30:30  The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard, And show the descent of His arm, With the indignation of His anger And the flame of a devouring fire, With scattering, tempest, and hailstones.

Isa 30:31  For through the voice of the LORD Assyria will be beaten down, As He strikes with the rod.

Isa 30:32  And in every place where the staff of punishment passes, Which the LORD lays on him, It will be with tambourines and harps; And in battles of brandishing He will fight with it.

Isa 30:33  For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; The breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it.

What God will do in the future to all the nations, He would now do to Assyria.

Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum comments:

Tophet was located in the Valley of Hinnom that circles Jerusalem along the west side of the wall… The inhabitants of Jerusalem would burn their garbage in Tophet… The Valley of Hinnom became more known as the place where some of the wicked kings of Judah practiced human sacrifice to the god Molech. In Hebrew, the Valley of Hinnom is called Gei Hinnom, from which comes the Greek term Gehenna. Because it was a place of continual burning, first of garbage and later of humans, Gei Hinnom eventually became a symbol of the Lake of Fire.

Waiting on God often involves us eschewing the wisdom of the world. Family and friends, even those who are in Christ, think you foolish for not doing the obvious. Your wait, when it is from the Lord, is one way He reveals His grace to a watching world.

Leonard Ravenhill said, “That world outside there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity, it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.”

God waits for you. It would be easy to launch into a “Don’t Make God Wait” exhortation. The risk of going that route is that you can’t help but think about how much you despise waiting. You project that attitude upon God. It can get ugly.

God waits for you because He is full of grace & mercy. As the Master Craftsman, He wants to work on you 24/7 until you are with Him. He doesn’t slumber or sleep. You might say, “How does God work on me when I’m asleep?”

He’s busy plotting your course, calculating distances. He sees road hazards and determines how He is going to warn you to avoid them, or strengthen you to encounter them. It goes without saying that He is way ahead of you.

He has promised, unconditionally, that He will perform and finish His good work in you. It’d be better for you to cooperate. If you don’t, He is faithful to do what He has promised.

Make Him wait and it is you who loses out.