Note: the following was written for Join the Journey, a daily online devotional written by a different person each day. For 2011, we are jouneying through the books of the prophets. You can receive each day’s devotional in an email by signing up here.
My assignment was to write a devotional about Isaiah 31.
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
Even after all the times God showed His power, and all the evidence in their history—rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, giving them a land in which to live and prosper, defeating their larger and more powerful enemies—they still looked elsewhere for help. They called upon their silver and gold idols, and turned to the superpower nation Egypt—Egypt!—as a military insurance policy. As if silver or gold would protect them from enemies. As if the mighty Egyptian military had proven itself to be anything more than fish food when pitted against the one Lord of all. As if any effort of man or anything of this Earth could be any more than noise against the One who created it all by simply saying “let there be”.
Silly Israelites. At least we do nothing like that today.
Oh, wait—except we do. We do exactly that. Or even worse: our idols are made not of silver and gold, but of mere paper with portraits of deceased presidents printed on it. Our nation may not turn to Egypt for help, but that is only because we are the superpower. And we trust in that Earthly power, ordering our lives around the systems and security it provides. We spend most of our time collecting those pieces of paper, storing them up, diversifying our portfolios to reduce risk. We build homes on the Earth, with security systems to protect them, and purchase “life insurance” that actually does nothing of the sort. Our peace of mind, or lack of it, is too often based on the condition of things—our houses and horses and chariots and flesh—even though those things are guaranteed to eventually decay, fall apart, or fail. Even though the only One with the power to steady the Earth, part the waters, and stop the storms has promised to supply us with everything we really need in this life. Even though He freely offers us eternal mansions that will never fall, new bodies that will never fail, and life that will never end. And we willingly trade that for the temporary?