In Quietness Is Your Strength
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... Isaiah 30:15
Isaiah 30 is a chapter of rebuke and guidance. The prophecy was given in 722 B.C., a time when the Assyrian army was attacking Israel and Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel would be conquered by Assyria, the people of Israel would be taken into exile. The Assyrians would then come against the southern kingdom of Judah, and because of this threat the leaders of Judah looked to Egypt for protection against the Assyrian invasion. God rebuked Judah, and gave four guiding words: returning, rest, quietness, trust.
Relevant and helpful is this chapter for us. Where, in our covid crisis, do we look for help? Will our family and friends survive? Will our economy? Where do we run for protection, how do we cope with the fear and trepidation looming in our culture?
This chapter, and in particular verse 15, has become a foundational verse for me. God regularly brings it back to the forefront of my heart, via prophetic persons or in my regular study / quiet times. Its value to me is clear but difficult. My bent toward work, excessive spiritual busyness, impulsivity and go-for-it tendencies is corrected in this chapter. Like Judah, however, I often am unwilling. The four words:
RETURNING: is a form of the Hebrew word "shub", meaning to repent or turn back. This particular word, "shuba" is used only in Isaiah 30:15. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament translates it as withdrawal or retirement. Rather than forge ahead recklessly, the focus is on retiring to hear instructions from headquarters, then attack.
REST: rest is Hebrew "nachath" = to rest, be quiet, quietness. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:6, Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. Judah, don't run to Egypt; quieten down and look to Me. You too, Perry.
QUIETNESS: This is "shakat" to be quiet, undisturbed, tranquil, at peace. Eight times the phrase "the land was at rest" uses shakat. Two kings of Judah, Asa and Jehoshaphat lived in quietness:
Asa also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace
2 Chron 14:5-6.
And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around 2 Chron 20:29-30.
David expressed this posture in Ascent Psalm 131: But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Too often my soul is a wild child within me. I am learning to settle down, be quiet, chillax, ready with the words, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Operating not from the impulse of my gifts, personality and desires, but rather from the flow inside my heart of Father's clear direction. Safety and protection come underneath the refuge of God's wings, within his fortress, shaded by the Rock. Consider that quietness is strength. Shutting up again and again, Perry Floyd