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.
But you would have none of it.
You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.
They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’
But the only swiftness you are going to see
is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
One of them will chase a thousand of you.
Five of them will make all of you flee.
You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill
or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”
So the LORD must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the LORD is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,
you will weep no more.
He will be gracious if you ask for help.
He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. (Isaiah 30:15-19)
You can do things your way or God’s way. Like a small child telling his father, “I can do it myself,” so the children of Israel were not interested in what God had to offer them. They were convinced that they had a good plan and that everything was under control. God pointed out that they were mistaken, but he let them try it their way first.
In the time of Moses, God had promised his people that if they were faithful, one person could make a thousand enemies flee. If they were not faithful, God promised that one enemy would make a thousand Israelites flee. Five hundred years later, God used Isaiah to remind them of those promises.
God would have rather that his people had listened to him. He had Isaiah offer them the chance to do the right thing. God loved his people and he didn’t want to see them hurt or unhappy. But he loved them so much that he set them free and waited for them to realize the error of their ways—as he knew they would—so that they would, in the end, freely choose him. God promised his people that whenever they finally called out to him for help, whenever it was that they finally realized that they really couldn’t do it themselves, he would be there to help them pick up the pieces. God is always near, always ready to help us, no matter how many bad choices we’ve made. All we have to do is ask.