May 6, 2021
“See, the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God."
“See, the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. Happy are you all who wait patiently. For you people will live on Zion in Jerusalem and will never cry again. He will show favor to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears, He will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher does not hide Himself any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’ Then you will defile your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, and call them filth.” Isaiah 30:18–22
There is a recent UCLA survey on “spirituality on college campuses” conducted over a number of years, polling over 1,400 higher learning institutions. As it were, spirituality is on the rise on college campuses. But a sobering statistic stands out among the thick pages of data. When asked, “Do you seek spirituality to know what God requires of you?”, only 13 percent said, “Yes.” That answer tells us that most people are seeking God for what He will do for them, not what He requires of them.
Given that statistic, it makes sense that many followers of Messiah Jesus find themselves disappointed with God. We often assume that God exists to make us wealthy, successful, or popular. In short, we generally believe He exists for our happiness. The truth is that we exist for HIS pleasure, not the other way around. He is more concerned with our spiritual prosperity than our earthly wealth.
So, if we expect “good standing” with God means wealth and prosperity for us, we will experience mostly disappointed lives. Consider the words of today’s passage:
“He will show favor to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears, He will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during your oppression, but your Teacher does not hide Himself any longer.” Isaiah 30:19b–20
Israel cried out to the Lord, and He heard her cry. But His response was not to shower her with earthly wealth to reward her repentance. No, He gave Israel what was necessary for physical survival and spiritual wealth: bread, water, and His guidance (His Word). It makes Jesus’ reply to Satan during His desert temptation more stirring:
“Man does not live by bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3, Luke 4:4
Only after Israel had learned what God required of them (and proved faithful in heeding His Word) did He allow earthly blessings to return to them. So, keep heeding His Word.
“Then He will send rain for your seed that you have sown in the ground, and the food, the produce of the ground, will be rich and plentiful. On that day, your cattle will graze in open pastures.” Isaiah 30:23