The Lord longs to be gracious to you. Isaiah 30:18
Everyone in high school admired Jack’s easygoing attitude and athletic skill. He was happiest in midair above a half-pipe ramp—one hand holding his skateboard, the other stretched out for balance.
Jack decided to follow Jesus after he started attending a local church. Up to that point, he’d endured significant family struggles and had used drugs to medicate his pain. For a while after his conversion, things seemed to be going well for him. But years later he started using drugs again. Without the proper intervention and ongoing treatment, he eventually died of an overdose.
It’s easy to turn back to what’s familiar when we face difficulty. When the Israelites felt the distress of an upcoming Assyrian attack, they crawled back to the Egyptians—their former slave masters—for help (Isaiah 30:1–5). God predicted that this would be disastrous, but He continued to care for them although they made the wrong choice. Isaiah voiced God’s heart: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion” (v. 18).
This is God’s attitude toward us, even when we choose to look elsewhere to numb our pain. He wants to help us. He doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves with habits that create bondage. Certain substances and actions tempt us with a quick sense of relief, but God wants to provide authentic healing as we walk closely with Him.
Why is it important to recognize God’s grace in times of failure? How can you better mirror His faithfulness in your relationship with Him?
Dear God, please set me free from sinful patterns. Help me to turn to You when I’m tempted to find relief in something else.
A resurgent militant Assyria was threatening to conquer all Israel, but the Southern Kingdom of Judah turned to Egypt for help instead of trusting God for deliverance (Isaiah 30:2). God had explicitly prohibited Israelite kings from trusting in horses (representing military might and power) for deliverance, for “no king is saved by the size of his army; . . . A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save” (Psalm 33:16–17). Isaiah warned that it’s futile to trust in Egypt (Isaiah 30:1–7), and it’s foolish not to trust in God (vv. 8–19). God lovingly urged His people to repent, promising blessing to those who trust in Him (vv. 18–33). “How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you” (v. 19). Judah had yet to learn that “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).