Devotion: That will do nothing to help you
I remember years ago when I tried to use a coupon in the store for the first time. I had heard others raving about how much money they had saved. So I cut my coupon out of the paper and felt excited about getting my savings. But quickly that excitement turned into disappointment when the cashier said, “You can’t use this coupon on this.”
“Why?” I asked.
“See here? It says you have to spend at least 30 dollars to get any money off,” she explained. She then asked, “Would you like to go and shop for a few more items?”
I hadn’t read the fine print. At the time, I didn’t even have that much money to spend. “No, that’s okay,” I said. Once I thought about it, it felt like the coupon was nothing more than a ploy to get me to spend more.
I left the store thinking to myself, is it really a good deal if I have to spend way more than I would have spent otherwise just to get the so-called savings? Suddenly, my disappointment turned into excitement once again. I had saved after all!
Whether you have ever used coupons or not, I’m sure there have been moments in your life when you mistook something for being useful that wound up being useless. Well, in Isaiah 30, Judah made this mistake, which upset God.
Isaiah 30:1 says, “‘Woe to the obstinate children,’ declares the Lord, ‘to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin.”
Here’s a bit of context. The Assyrian army was attacking Judah, God’s set-apart people. So you know what they did? They looked to Egypt for help. They thought this foreign nation could offer protection against the Assyrian invasion. Instead of looking to God, they sought to form an alliance with Egyptian forces—something that really angered the Lord. He wanted their trust and confidence to be in Him, not Egypt!
Even though, naturally speaking, it is not unwise to look for help in other people and places. Spiritually speaking, when you do that without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you set yourself up for trouble.
In verse 5, God said the Egyptians would be “useless to them” and would “bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”
Then God continued in verse 7, saying Egypt’s “help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing.”
Rahab was another name for Egypt, and this nation, according to God, would do nothing to deliver Judah from the hand of the Assyrians. The relationship would do nothing to improve their plight.
If you continue reading down further in this chapter you will see the way God juxtaposes the uselessness of Egypt with His own responsiveness and helpfulness. He makes the point that He is the real refuge. He is the real strength. He is the real protector. He is the real champion and not Egypt. All Judah needed to do was turn to God to see the awesome things He would do. God desired to bless them. In fact, He assured Judah He would carry out those desires.
In verse 18, God said, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”
See that? Now what can be learned from this?
If you wait on God, rather than jumping into an unholy alliance out of fear, good things will happen. You will get the help you need instead of wasting your time on useless pursuits. God will act swiftly.
In verse 19, God said of Himself, “How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.”
Today, God is saying through this word, if you want help, seek Him. Stop looking to the left and the right of you. Look up. That’s where your help comes from (Psalm 121).
Panicking and seeking refuge in human hands, manmade institutions, and earthly provisions will do nothing to assist you. Unless God specifically says go that way, don’t turn aside. In everything, turn to God. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He’ll direct you according to Proverbs 3:5-6.
He will be just what you need Him to be and more. He will do the impossible for you. God will make ways for you. He will open doors. He will heal your body. He will turn things around. He will move on your behalf. He will defeat your foes and produce favorable outcomes for you.
God told Judah in verse 23, just as He is telling you today, if you trust Him, “He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground.” Isn’t it awesome knowing God will divinely water that seed of faith and it will yield a mighty harvest?
All you need to do in order to reap the rewards God has for you is believe Him. Don’t doubt His power and strength. Do less scheming and more leaning. Stop trying to figure it out and talk it over with Jesus. He will lead and guide you. He will take care of you.
To remind you of where your confidence belongs, I’m stirring Psalm 20:7 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, place one hundred percent of your faith in the God of your salvation, knowing that He is able—as Ephesians 3:20 says—to “do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
Now let’s pray.
God, please forgive me for all the times that I trusted in people and things instead of You. Today, I’m placing my faith and confidence 100% where it belongs, in You alone. You are my refuge, my hope, my strength, and everything I need. And I know that in response to my faith, You will move in my favor. I thank You in advance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.