Verse of the Day Devotion. Isaiah 31:6
“Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected, O sons of Israel.” – Isaiah 31:6
Isaiah is prophesying about Judah coming under attack by Sennacherib and the Assyrian empire. And what he was telling them was that there was a faction that was seeking help from Egypt rather than seeking Jehovah their God. “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!” Isaiah 31:1. In doing this, Isaiah confronted Judah with two sins: the sin of trusting in Egypt and their military might, and the sin of not looking to the Holy One of Israel. Judah felt they had a reason to trust in chariots because they are many. And they felt they had a reason to trust in horsemen because they are very strong. But they couldn’t seem to find a reason to trust in the LORD. But next he declares God is able. “Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, and does not retract His words, But will arise against the house of evildoers, And against the help of the workers of iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God, And their horses are flesh and not spirit; so the LORD will stretch out His hand, and he who helps will stumble and he who is helped will fall, and all of them will come to an end together.” Isaiah 31:2-3. He states here two things. First, that God is wise and can bring disaster on His foes, and that the Egyptians are men and not God, and their horses are merely creatures of flesh and not spiritual, and they will not be victorious if they rely on them.
Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “For thus says the LORD to me, as the lion or the young lion growls over his prey, against which a band of shepherds is called out, Will not be terrified at their voice, nor disturbed at their noise, so will the LORD of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill. Like flying birds so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it; He will pass over and rescue it.” Isaiah 31:4-5. Judah’s trust in Egypt to protect them against the Assyrian invasion was both foolish and unnecessary. God would protect them, as a lion growls over its prey when a shepherd comes to it, whether Judah trusts Him or not. And of a mother bird protecting her young. So, God will defend Jerusalem with the ferocity of a lion, and also with the tender care of a bird. The combination of the two images is powerful.
And because of the message God gave to Isaiah, we read in our focus verse this message to Judah, “Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected, O sons of Israel.” Isaiah 31:6. God is calling them to return to Him, to trust in Him rather than in Egypt or anything else. Because of how great God is and because of how terrible the alternatives to serving Him are, they should feel compelled to return to Him. They should repent of their idolatry, destroy their idols, repent, and give themselves to God.
And the reason is seen in the last three verses of chapter thirty-one. “For in that day every man will cast away his silver idols and his gold idols, which your hands have made as a sin. And the Assyrian will fall by a sword not of man, And a sword not of man will devour him. So, he will not escape the sword, And his young men will become forced laborers. And his rock will pass away because of panic, And his princes will be terrified at the standard, declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 31:7-9. Then Assyria will fall. And this was fulfilled exactly as prophesied. The Assyrian army devastated almost the entire land of Judah, and camped on the outskirts of Jerusalem, waiting to conquer the nation by defeating the capital city. And in 2 Kings we read of this battle. “Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. And it came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.” 2 Kings 19:35-37.
Going through hard times is difficult. Sometimes we wonder just how we will make it through. But it is important to remember that God is the one we should go to for our help and support. Granted, friends and family will be there also, but we must rely on Him predominantly to bring us through. And many times He will use friends and family in our support and solution. But we must remember He is our primary helper. And who knows who and what He will use to provide us with victory.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.