Identity found in God’s protection
Too often we are guilty of believing that the people of biblical times have little in common with us.
The truth is that people have always struggled to perceive, discern, and understand the life-giving presence of God no matter in which place, culture, century, or era they lived.
One of the common threads of humanity is the thread of restless, impatient, impulsive activity that is meant to protect our positions in life. That thread, while subtle and cunning, becomes quite obvious under the light of God’s call and God’s correction. Take the story of Isaiah’s prophetic words in Isaiah Chapter 30.
Still in exile, the Israelites are looking for a way to insure their protection. They are strangers in a foreign land and longing for a way to gain a foothold. They turn to an old enemy. The people seek protection and shelter from the hand of Pharoah.
The prophet warns that such actions will result in humiliation, shame and disgrace because Pharoah does not have their best interest at heart.
Ultimately, Isaiah’s words strike at the heart of the matter by recalling the people to the truth of God’s loving care. He reminds them that comfort and protection are found in the steadfast mercy of God and not the economic and military alliances made with Egypt. The prophet reminds the children of God that the only true rest and protection comes from God.
Perhaps there is a word in Isaiah’s prophecy that is good for us to consider as a nation, as a congregation and as individuals. Certainly, it is easy during these tough economic times to support economic alliances that may seem beneficial to us individually, but it seems we ought to consider the larger picture of God’s justice and equality.
During the hurried pace of the holidays it is easy to get swept up to give more, have more, be more. Maybe that’s one of the ways we find our identity, but the prophet seems to be reminding us that our real place and true identity is that we are under God’s care and protection.