advice, bearing one another's burdens, burdens, Christian encouragement, christian journey, christian walk, Christianity, devotional, devotions, encouragement, family devotions, God, helping others, helping people, soliciting advice, strength
As I was reading in Isaiah yesterday, I found a little treasure. You actually have to be in the KJV to find it. In chapter 30 of Isaiah the prophet is foretelling the tragic tale of an enemy approaching Israel. Instead of going to God, they go to other countries to make alliances. They trust in things that appear to be powerful, but hold no true strength. One of those countries is Egypt and when we get to verse 7, it says, “For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, their strength is to sit still.”
Their strength is to sit still.
Who is this talking about? Is this referring to Israel, or Egypt? Most commentators believe Isaiah is talking to Egypt. So, why would Isaiah tell Egypt that their strength is to sit still? Why would he tell them not to help Israel?
I thought about the many times I have tried to be someone else’s strength. It hit me how many times I have tried to be someone else’s Egypt. I’m not talking about someone who truly needs my help in a physical sense that God is calling me to encourage. I’m talking about people who come to me for advice, or a word from God. Instead of getting on our knees together, I puff up arrogantly (in my own mind) and decide that I can help. After all, I am a pastor’s wife, a homeschooling mom of two incredible boys, been married for over twenty years, a student of the Word, etc. etc. etc. That’s not exactly what I’m thinking, but you get the point. It’s expected of me to have a solution, so I panic a little and decide I must figure things out! I have to be someone’s strength. Just like Egypt in the book of Isaiah, instead of turning them to God, I get caught up in trying to fix things for them. I decide that I need to figure out how to protect them instead of leading them to their only true Protector.
I not only do this with people who solicit my advice, but also with my children and husband as well. People who would never ask for my opinion! Can you relate?
Isaiah 30:1-2 says, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!”
I am discovering that I have allowed people to trust in my own shadow and not the shadow of the Lord. Psalm 17:8 says, “…hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” That’s what God wants for us and those around us. He wants us to be under His shadow, His protection.
Psalm 18:1-2 says, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” That’s what God wants for us. He wants His strength to be permeating every detail of our lives… not us trying to be each other’s strength and salvation. He is the Rock. We are not.
Psalm 57 is another great Psalm that teaches us to cling to our God. That’s the kind of stuff we need to be sharing with people, not earthly wisdom that according to Isaiah 30:7 will have no purpose and no lasting value. In other words, we are wasting everybody’s time (ours included) if we aren’t leading them to Jesus.
Psalm 61:2 says, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” That’s our job. Not to be the rock, but to lead people to it.
Instead of frantically trying to fix things for everybody, let’s choose to sit still before our God. Isaiah 30:15 tells us that our strength comes when we are quietly confident in the Lord. If we are running on fumes, maybe it’s because we are trying to be Egypt for someone. Maybe we are trying to be someone’s strength when all we are called to do is sit still in His presence and bring others to that same place.
When people come to us, let’s help them, but let’s help them by showing them, teaching them and leading them to rest before the Lord in order to seek Him, hear Him and know Him.
Let’s stop trying to be Egypt.