Read Isaiah 31
Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt
31 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord.
2 Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster;
he does not take back his words.
He will rise up against that wicked nation,
against those who help evildoers.
3 But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God;
their horses are flesh and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
those who help will stumble,
those who are helped will fall;
all will perish together.
4 This is what the Lord says to me:
“As a lion growls,
a great lion over its prey—
and though a whole band of shepherds
is called together against it,
it is not frightened by their shouts
or disturbed by their clamor—
so the Lord Almighty will come down
to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
5 Like birds hovering overhead,
the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.
8 “Assyria will fall by no human sword;
a sword, not of mortals, will devour them.
They will flee before the sword
and their young men will be put to forced labor.
9 Their stronghold will fall because of terror;
at the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic,”
declares the Lord,
whose fire is in Zion,
whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
This chapter echoes a similar message to the previous one. It was foolish for Judah to put their trust in the Egyptian army instead of the Lord for protection. They thought maybe if they could get some military alliances, they would have a chance to stand against the Assyrian army. The Assyrian empire was the world superpower of the time. Israel had already been overrun by the Assyrians and they were threatening to do the same thing to Judah.
Judah was looking to find security in anything other than the Lord. They thought this alliance with Egypt was wisdom, but it ended up being foolish. First Corinthians tells us that the “wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Corinthians 3:19). Judah was idolizing the Egyptians, who were “men, not God ” and their horses that were “flesh and not spirit” (v. 3). They were finding their confidence in the creation and not in the Creator. Creation is no match for God’s power.
Psalm 20:7 says that “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Judah was putting their trust in chariots, relying on horses, and the strength of a military alliance. We too, can put our trust in the things of this world. We often tend to rely on our own strength in times of trouble instead of seeking the Lord who is our “refuge and our strength” (Psalm 46:1). God can be our last resort when we are facing trials instead of our first.
The chapter closes with a promise that Assyria will fall, but “not by human sword” (v. 8). This promise might have seemed unimaginable to the Jews, but it was fulfilled exactly. In Isaiah 37, God sent an angel of the Lord and killed 185,000 Assyrians overnight. This had nothing to do with the “sword of man” but only by the power and the strength of God. The people rose up in pride, and God quickly humbled them. He is not terrified by the shouts of His enemies or subdued by their nose (v. 4). God cannot be humbled by any man or by any army, but He willingly chose to humble himself through Christ by taking the form of a servant and dying on a cross. The Lord cannot be humbled, but His Kingdom is as humble as death.
- What is your first resort in times of trouble?
- Where do you most often go seek wisdom first: the world or God’s Word?
- When in your life have you seen God come through in unexpected ways?
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5 thoughts on “Isaiah 31”
God explicitly showed Israel the beauty of following his laws when Moses gave the Ten Commandments. In them they could see the true nature of God and following them would lead to holiness. The very first one issued was “Do not worship any other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:3).
Jesus declared in Matthew 4:10, “You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.” Along the way Israel & Judah began to look & consult man for help, not trusting in God. It’s crazy they turned to Egypt time and again, the pagan nation that had once enslaved their ancestors. God had miraculously delivered them from the clutch of this pagan nation with great signs & wonders, yet here they are relying on them again. Are we that different in how we face adversity? Do we numb out instead of repenting and seeking out truth found in God, his word & his people? We will serve something or someone, let it be Jesus who brings true freedom & justice to all our questions & brokenness.
I’m still mediating on yesterday’s verses 9 & 10. The rebellion—the defiant character they had of not wanting to see or hear about the prophecy of right things… they wanted “smooth” things. Isn’t that like us? Not picking on Ella by any means, but yesterday her heart needed to read the positive scripture that was tucked away in scripture. I, on the other hand, needed to read the consequences of making my own plans.
Today, I’m reminded in v1 how again, they didn’t ‘look to’ or ‘seek after’ the help of the Lord.
These last few days of reading such rebellion, He’s answered a long awaited question I had concerning a situation. It wasn’t the ‘smooth’ talking I needed. The clarity is brutal, but it’s truth. And like in Chapter 30, many us flee from hearing the truth. We wanted to be like the Israelites and go back to our ways—our Egypt—because that’s what we know. That’s easier than trusting God—it’s easier than dying to self—our plans—our desires. But I’m reminded it’s what God is calling us to do. To have faith and trust in Him…
It is what we do turning to the world when we have troubles. BUT GOD has our way mapped out easily but we get ourselves involved in the choices instead of listening. Verse 1 says Woe to those who go looking to “man” and trusting his ways. BUT GOD will protect and fight for us IF we put our trust in Him alone. Proverbs 10:9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. God knows we, ME, have to trust Him!!!! I know in my head knowledge and really in my heart knowledge but I keep getting the way by trying to help situations that are not mine to handle. Faith, trust and prayer with praying believers standing beside and around me are such a blessing. Standing on the promises of His Word.
God You know all the situations of each person that reads this BRP. Thank You for working in each persons heart to hear YOU. Thank You for speaking to them gentle directions for specific issues that they are struggling with. God Thank You that then we heed Your Holy Spirit and step out to do what and where You are leading. My hearts desire is to be obedient and even if it is hard I know through You I will have the strength to endure and do right. I love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I am so beyond words grateful!!! in Jesus name amen
Your words hit home with me today. This reassures me of the plans God has for my life, not man’s or my own. His love is enduring and everlasting. Being a mom of four sons, I tend to want to care and fix all problems, but today I will give it all back to God. I will trust and love Him all the days of my life.
As I was reading this passage, I, too was thinking of Psalm 20: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” I’m convicted, though, that trust and belief are incomplete without ACTION. Though my heart and mind may be turned to God, too often my fickle feet would return to “Egypt.” At such times, I run to anchor verses that redirect me to God’s liberating truth:
He HAS delivered me from my former life of deadly sin and old, destructive habits—and WILL continue to lead me down His path of victory and freedom.
To God be the glory!