Imagine being a relatively small minority in a big world. Imagine you had huge and volatile armies all around that dwarfed yours. Who would you look to for security?
The challenge Judah faces is a stark one. They, the people of Judah, are the people of the Covenant. Who will they ultimately put their trust in? It is a question that is asked specifically of Judah a number of times in Isaiah and especially in Isaiah 36:4 which is the climax of the first section of the book.
Will Judah follow the ways of the nations all around her, trusting in diplomacy and alliances, relying on her own political wisdom and shrewd policies to preserve her status and security? Or will she rely on the promises of her sovereign Lord, YHWH alone? YHWH is bound to her by covenant oath.
It is actually a choice that every Christian is familiar with. Of course we are not in the same period of salvation history – God has not promised Australians or any other nation to be his sovereign state or to be his representatives on earth. But, as a bunch of Christians, as his church (note: I am not referring to Anglican or another denomination or even people who ‘turn up on Sunday’ but rather the church in a biblical sense as those who have put their trust in Jesus to forgive their sin), God has called us to be his chosen people, his representatives on earth to the unbelieving world around us (1 Peter 2:9-10).
But we can still learn from Isaiah about trusting God in the face of joy and in the face of adversity. I find it pretty easy to trust God when things are all going well but when life becomes challenging, whether at a personal level or in our congregation, or on a national or international scale … whom will we trust – God or ourselves?
As God’s people today it can certainly seem like we are in the minority. Look at how many of your work colleagues go to church each week, read their bible regularly, speak to you about the things of God and make life decisions based on God’s plan and purposes? My guess is almost none!
Plenty of Aussies call themselves Christians but few actually live in response to what they claim to believe (not that we earn our spot in heaven but if I am not seeking to serve God however imperfectly you would be right in wondering if I am really am one of this disciples).
So as people who are in the minority, who do you trust when all the world around you seems to be doing something very different with their lives, values and morals and at the same time significantly opposed to what you stand for? Who do you trust when you are faced with making a stand on the Christian perspective of marriage or when someone asks you if it is OK to have sex with someone you are not married to (just to name a few of the controversial topics in our society at present)?
Sadly we see many people who claim to follow God walking away from obedience to him but the question still remains for us to answer – In the challenges you face, who will you trust?