The things in our lives can consume our minds and cause us to focus on them instead of focusing on God. This is exactly what the people of God were going through as they were told to put their trust in God while watching an army approach them that could destroy them. Many times, we make what is seen, bigger than God and so we must make sure that we focus on God and who He is rather than on the circumstances we are facing.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[d] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Isaiah wanted to get their attention and remind them of who God is and to focus more on the eternal and the unseen things instead of making the things we can see bigger than God.
Isaiah 31:1-4 Woe[a] to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! 2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. 3 The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together. 4 For thus the Lord said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the Lord of hosts will come down to fight[b] on Mount Zion and on its hill.
- God is Wise
“He also is wise” The people who were making the decisions for the country thought that they were wise and so Isaiah reminds them that God is wise, and He is the one who should be sought for advice. In the past a priest or prophet would seek God to see if this were a war they should get involved with. (1 Samuel 23; 2 Samuel 5; 1 Kings 22) The people should have known that it always lead to failure when the people of God did not seek God. (Joshua 9:14; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
Many times we rely on our own wisdom or the wisdom of the world rather than turning to God. Their wisdom was going to bring disaster upon their nation because they were going down to Egypt and relying on the military might of Egypt to save them. This is the fifth warning that Isaiah is giving them trying to get them to stop putting their faith in worldly wisdom and turn to God.
Egypt was known for their fighting chariots, but the chariots would not have worked in the mountainous areas of Judah. They were willing to sacrifice a lot of time and money bargaining with Egypt for help, but they were not willing to spend time pleading with God about their situation in prayer. They were also ignoring the scriptures that talked about not relying on a foreign power (Deuteronomy 17:16; Psalm 20:7; Proverbs 21:31)
We spend so much time and money trying to do things by our own wisdom and power instead of going to God and taking the time and effort to seek His wisdom. We lose sleep, we become stressed and anxious because we do not go to God
Philippians 4:5-6 Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
“He does not go back on what He says” Have you ever decided on something and then you realized that you made the wrong decision? God is not that way because whatever decision He makes it is the correct. When we seek God, we can know that God will guide us to the right decision because He does not make mistakes.
2) God will punish Evil
“Rise up against the house of the wicked, and the allies of evildoers.” Sometimes it feels in our world that those who commit evil do not get punished but God will rise and act. God’s punishment was not just for the Assyrians because He was also going to punish those who helped them which included those in Judah.
“Egyptians are men, not God, their horses are flesh, not spirit” No one can stand up to God although they may arrogantly think they can and God compares Himself as a lion growling over his prey.God is now compared to a lion that cannot be chased away by the shepherds because He is not scared by them
God is viewed as a roaring lion (Jeremiah 49:19 50:49; Hosea 5:14; 11:10; 13:7; Amos 1:2; 3:8) The picture is still that God is coming to fight His enemies and destroy them.
Yahweh of Host or Lord of Armies WE forget that in the unseen there are a Host of angels at God’s disposal.
2 kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
We must be careful that we do not become infatuated with angels and we especially should not pray or worship angels but remember they are at God’s disposal for His purposes. God is the one who has command over all of them even though they themselves are great and mighty creatures. Our prayers should always be directed to God directly and not to the creations He created. Ephesians 6:10-20 reminds us that we are in a spiritual battle with the unseen every day and we need to prepare for it.
Isaiah 31:5 Like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it.”
3) God is my protector
The protection of God is compared to birds that fly over bringing a shield to anything that tries to come in and harm their young chicks. The language is feminine and so it shows the motherly care of God and how He will compassionately save His people. We pray to God as Father because that is how Jesus taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9) so do not get wrapped up in the movement that says God is woman because God is Spirit (John 4:24) and both male and female are created in His image. When they heard the word “Passover” they would immediately think of the Passover where God’s protection protected them from the death angel that God sent to Egypt. The Passover would also remind themthat they are seeking help in the wrong place by reminding them of what God did in the past to Egypt and how they should not return to them for help. (Exodus 12)
Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Isaiah 31:6-7 Turn to him from whom people[c] have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. 7 For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.
4) God is a Forgiver
“Return to the One you have rebelled against” Isaiah is saying God is wise, He will punish evil and He will protect you so you should turn back to Him and ask for forgiveness. This was an urgency to repent because time was running out. Remember this is their fifth warning about the judgment to come and yet God is still asking them to repent from their rebelliousness.Repent is just turning around or returning to God.
“They had deeply or greatly revolted” We all have deeply or greatly revolted against God by our sin but many people do not see it that way. They do not see themselves as the prodigal son who has rebelled against his father by wishing he were dead, taking his inheritance and squandering it all.
They were rejecting God as their Father and as their King. We have to remember these were people that were still worshiping God and doing the festivals, but they had mixed in other religions and ran to other idols for things they should have been going to God for.
“For on that day you will Reject the Gold idols your hands have made” Our Idols will always seem ridiculous when we compare them to God and who He is. Idols will always leave you empty just as the prophet Jeremiah (2:13) said that they committed two sins in that they left God and went to things that could not satisfy. Our idols always leave us longing for more and that is why whatever you fill your life with besides God will leave you wanting more. Yes, it will satisfy for a time but in the end it will leave you dry just like a well that does not hold water.
Silver and Gold Idols: Notice these are expensive, fine crafted idols. Not only are our idols worthless and do not do what they promise they also cost us a lot of money. Our idols can bankrupt us because we believe the lie that we have been told that our wholeness comes from the things in this world.
Isaiah 31:8-9 “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
9 His rock shall pass away in terror, and his officers desert the standard in panic, “declares the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
5) God is a Deliverer
“Assyria will fall but not by man” The next area where God is not seen is in how He fights for His Children. What God is going to do will not be able to be done by human hands and only God will be able to get the credit. God is going to not only deliver them from their enemies, but God is going to deliver them from their idols and all their sins. The Assyrians will be psychologically shattered losing their nerve to function let alone to fight and will turn and head home.
Psalm 33:17-19 The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Are you trusting God for your deliverance or your own abilities? When God does not come through the way we want or in the timely manner we want we tend to rely on our own wisdom and power to deliver ourselves, but we must seek His wisdom and His deliverance.