Egypt or the Lord?

By Lyndal Walker
National Prayer Coordinator – Youth for Christ Australia

Recently the Lord reminded me of the children of Israel in the Old Testament and how often they refused to seek the Lord through prayer. In one such case, Judah was under threat of attack by the Assyrian army and were looking to Egypt for help and protection. Yet God warned them through the prophet Isaiah not to be friends with or to make an alliance with them. Egypt’s strength was seen in the power of their horses and chariots. The warning was strong: 

“Woe 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!” (Isaiah 31:1)

Judah even gave them money to help, but it wouldn’t profit them in the long run (Isaiah 30:1-7). Isaiah rebukes them as stubborn children, making plans that were not God’s. It’s a fascinating passage of scripture. You can sense the frustration of Isaiah as he’s prophesying – why don’t these kids just listen to their Father! If they did, they would hear that they didn’t have to do anything but to repent and rest in God to be saved as God would prove Himself strong (v15) – that seems a whole lot easier than loading up donkeys and camels with a heap of treasure! Yet because God’s character is so loving and gracious, He would show mercy to his children (v18).

It’s so easy for us to point the finger at the Children of Israel and say we would never be like them. Yet how much in our own lives, our churches and organizations has been decided in true consultation with the Lord? When we feel under threat, do we make decisions based on the way the world makes decisions – thinking more of our security and viability – than the plans of God, which often seem illogical to us? I would hope and pray that we never get to the point of the Children of Israel who were unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord (Isaiah 30:15).

If we have gotten to the point of prayerlessness in our lives, then the answer is as easy as it was for the Children of Israel:

“In returning (or repentance) and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18)

Will you join me in heeding the call of the Lord to return to prayer as our first priority?