Daily D – Isaiah 30:15
Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.” (NLT)
That was then; this is now. Everything’s different, right?
This text reminds me of Luke 10:25-29. Verse 25 sets the stage.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
Every word is important, none more so than “do.”
We stand on this side of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. It should be easier for us than it was the people of Isaiah’s day as well as this expert in religious law.
Jesus was on trial. Sure, it was Moot Court, but it was the trial he was on every day in the hearts and minds of people with the mindset of obedience to 613 laws as the outward sign of rightness with God.
In Isaiah’s day and in the days recorded in Luke’s Gospel, people had the baseline idea that they had to do something to save themselves. The cross of Jesus nailed down our salvation. We no longer live in a “What must I do?” relationship with God. We live in a “What I (God) have done for you” relationship with him.
Even in Isaiah’s day, hundreds of years before the incarnation of Jesus, God said to his people, “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.” Let’s state the plain truth: Salvation is by relationship, not rules.
God also said, “In quietness and confidence is your strength.” God doesn’t need our bravado. Our muscle strength and mental acuity do not make him better. We are better off being still than powerful.
God added one convicting word we need to take to heart: “But you would have none of it.” We prefer to do salvation our way. We prefer pumping our own gas.
Go back to Luke 10 and notice the lawyer’s mindset. “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (verse 25). “The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (verse 29).
“Do” and “Justify his actions” indicate he wanted something like a checklist. Sounds familiar. He focused on minimum standards. His idea of salvation was useful only to the point that he didn’t have to try anymore and maybe not even care anymore.
Today this checklist might look something like this:
- Go to church regularly, even if regularly means something less than ever before.
- Get baptized.
- Give a little here and there.
- Do something nice once in a while.
Where Jesus was focused on an all-consuming relationship with our Father in heaven and an all-out effort to live life as a stewardship of all of God’s good gifts, the lawyer wanted to do just enough to get in. He did not care enough to share God’s heart and mind. He did not love enough to depend on God’s strength and extend his compassion to everyone everywhere. Keep reading verses 30-37 for the rest of the story.
Salvation is God’s gift. The most we can do to earn it is to receive it. To receive it, we acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Having received it, we pass along the gift to others who are likewise trying to save themselves.
I will put away my checklist and pick up the wrapping paper.
Our Father, thank you for the gift of salvation. Empower us to live in an ever-deeper, all-consuming relationship with you. Empower us to pass along to others what we have freely received. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.