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Read Isaiah 30

Woe to the Obstinate Nation

30 “Woe to the obstinate children,”
    declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
    forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
    heaping sin upon sin;
who go down to Egypt
    without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,
    to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame,
    Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.
Though they have officials in Zoan
    and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,
everyone will be put to shame
    because of a people useless to them,
who bring neither help nor advantage,
    but only shame and disgrace.”

A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev:

Through a land of hardship and distress,
    of lions and lionesses,
    of adders and darting snakes,
the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs,
    their treasures on the humps of camels,
to that unprofitable nation,
    to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless.
Therefore I call her
    Rahab the Do-Nothing.

Go now, write it on a tablet for them,
    inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come
    it may be an everlasting witness.
For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,
    children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
10 They say to the seers,
    “See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
    “Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
    prophesy illusions.
11 Leave this way,
    get off this path,
and stop confronting us
    with the Holy One of Israel!”

12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

“Because you have rejected this message,
    relied on oppression
    and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you
    like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
    that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
    shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
    for taking coals from a hearth
    or scooping water out of a cistern.”

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
    Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
    Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
    at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
    you will all flee away,
till you are left
    like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a banner on a hill.”

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!

19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

27 See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar,
    with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke;
his lips are full of wrath,
    and his tongue is a consuming fire.
28 His breath is like a rushing torrent,
    rising up to the neck.
He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction;
    he places in the jaws of the peoples
    a bit that leads them astray.
29 And you will sing
    as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;
your hearts will rejoice
    as when people playing pipes go up
to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the Rock of Israel.
30 The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice
    and will make them see his arm coming down
with raging anger and consuming fire,
    with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.
31 The voice of the Lord will shatter Assyria;
    with his rod he will strike them down.
32 Every stroke the Lord lays on them
    with his punishing club
will be to the music of timbrels and harps,
    as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.
33 Topheth has long been prepared;
    it has been made ready for the king.
Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,
    with an abundance of fire and wood;
the breath of the Lord,
    like a stream of burning sulfur,
    sets it ablaze.

Go Deeper

This chapter speaks to what happens when we seek out shelter through our own understanding. God’s people sought protection from Egypt and sent them money and resources. God, through Isaiah, told His people that seeking this help would be their shame. This serves as a reminder to us that is how it always ends with us when we seek help and shelter from anything but God. The things of this world will always end up bringing us shame and keep asking more of us. When we can’t give anymore to whatever we were seeking help from it will either abandon or enslave us. We can have this happen with unhealthy relationships with family and friends or dependencies on anything that we think might help us feel control. Isaiah is speaking directly to us today about what happens when we choose things of this world over things from God.

“Rahab the Do-Nothing” is a phrase Isaiah uses to describe (and make fun of) Egypt. It points out their own powerlessness and how they can’t actually help at all. Egypt is not in a position of power and in only a few years they also fall to the same threats facing God’s people. It’s hard to say for certain why they wanted to seek help from Egypt, but the same can be said of us when we rely on things of this world. How often do we look back at our life and wonder why we did certain things? Wouldn’t it be great to have hindsight in the moment rather than after the moment?

Punishment and destruction is promised in this chapter, and it’s said in a way that God is giving them exactly what they wanted. Verses 15-17 talk about how they wanted nothing to do with God’s peace and wanted to flee on horses. So, God let them flee on horses and do what they wanted. God will let us have our free will to do what we choose to do (even when it is not the best thing for us). He will even let us walk directly into destruction. However, we are not left without hope. Verse 18 is perhaps one of the most comforting verses in all of scripture. The first part of that verse (“Yet, the LORD longs to be gracious to you”) sums up God very nicely. He longs to be gracious to us. He wants to restore us to Him, and He dearly misses walking in the garden with His creation and getting to enjoy us. Rest in the fact today (and every day moving forward) that God desires to be gracious to you.  



  1. What does this chapter teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity?
  2. Where have you tried to seek out comfort or satisfaction from the world? How did that play out in your own life?
  3. How have you seen and experienced God’s graciousness towards you?  

Did You KNow?

Verse 29 is a reference to Psalms 120-134, which are known as the “Psalms of Ascent” or “Pilgrim Songs”. Every year as the Jews traveled uphill towards the city of Jerusalem to participate in one of the three Jewish festivals, these are the songs they would sing. They became a staple of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem back then and now they serve as a helpful template for us as we worship today.

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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 30”

  1. Tucked into the verses of this chapter are some of my favorite scriptures:
    “The sovereign Lord says, Only in returning to me and waiting for me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.” V15
    “But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. Blessed are those who wait for him to help them.” V18
    “You will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will respond instantly to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and affliction for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes and you will hear a voice say, this is the way; turn around and walk here.” V19-21
    I will forever be grateful for the gift of opening the living active word of God, that transcends time to speak straight to my heart. It truly is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Oh the depth of the riches and knowledge of God!

    1. Well said, Ella! My thoughts exactly! I’m so grateful for BRP and this daily time in God’s Word to deepen my understanding and enrich my appreciation of His Truth.

  2. Decisions have consequences. Verse 1 Woe to the obstinate children to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;” is where I see us in this world today. BUT GOD there is hope verse 18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! He made the way, He provided the salvation for us who believe. As our world is crumbling around us we do have His Word to show us it is not all a loss. It will get better but we must keep Him first, tell others so that they have the opportunity to be along side as we worship through all eternity soon and very soon.

    God thank You for Your compassion. Thank You for hearing my repentance. Thank You for grace and mercy new every morning. God thank You for so loving me that You gave and Jesus gave. Beyond words of comprehension I am grateful!!!!in Jesus name amen

  3. All I can read is a sad love story of two separate people. Those who wait upon the Lord, and those who don’t.
    V1 starts out stating they went and made plans of their own. God pleads with them to repent, and to not flee from their problems. (V15-16) God gives explicit instructions on what His plans are…to wait! (Psalm 46:10) And even though He expresses how He longs to be compassionate and gracious, He is still a God of justice (v18).
    The people of Zion are saved and receive all that God promised those who would not repent. It ends with His wrath which he causes them to hear and see the destruction that awaits for the Assyrians v30.
    I love the verses Ella chose for our hope. But the verses that speak of justice for doing ‘what you want to do’ spoke more to me. How important are the plans of God compared to ours! Rest in quietness and wait…don’t saddle your horse too quickly!

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