If God is truly the Sovereign Lord and Creator over all the universe, then any and every world power and world ruler is minuscule in size and insignificant in power by comparison.
So why does Israel go to Egypt for help? This should strike us as strange. Don’t they remember where they were liberated from? Isn’t Egypt the nation upon which God rained down plague after plague? Why would they go down to Egypt?
They’re in trouble and they’re grasping for help and all they can see is Egypt’s horses and chariots and military strength. Surely this will help them, they think.
But God says Egypt’s help is utterly useless:
“Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.” Isaiah 30:4-5
God even calls Egypt Rahab the Do-Nothing!
Israel has its own plan, but it’s not God’s plan. They don’t want to hear anything the prophets are saying.
But God keeps calling. Like in the book of Hosea, God intensely longs for his people to know him as their ultimate hope and security.
“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!” Isaiah 30:18
What follows in chapter 30 is a description of a time when God’s people will throw away their idols and God will bless them with abundance and heal up the wounds he has inflicted on them in order to bring them back. He then announces words of devastating judgment on Assyria.
Salvation through judgment. This is a concept that I have recently been introduced to through a book by James Hamilton: God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. He contends that the big story of the Bible can be reduced to this one central theme: God’s glory in salvation through judgment. I haven’t read the book yet but I’ve listened to an interview he did about the psalms on Nancy Guthrie’s podcast, Help Me Teach the Bible.
In the recent Bible readings I’ve noticed the theme more and more. Words of judgment followed by promises to restore and save.
This theme reaches its climax at the Cross, a combination of God’s judgment for man’s sin and the doorway to our salvation.