This is a great passage to read when we want to be reminded of exactly how “good” God is. When we spend time with these images, how can we help but want to give glory to God. Sing his praises, rejoice, and be glad!
David does a great job of bringing this interlude to a close by magnifying God and his attributes. We can think of God as the lamp that lights our way, a shield to protect us, or a strong fortress to give us strength. Now that is good stuff!
What a great vision of being rescued by God the Father on high! I had to read it a couple times just to soak in all the great beauty of God’s intentions for David, His people, and for us. While this is part of David’s song, this same God rescues us on a regular basis. How do we respond to that grace and mercy?
For David, his gift of song and music was his go-to response. This vision starts with seeing an angry God who is coming to earth. The symbolic language refers to a bold and public display of God’s power.
Before we point fingers and wonder why the Israelites kept going astray, we have to realize we do the same thing. We know what’s best for us, and yet we often do just the opposite. Think about exercising or eating healthy. We know those are good things — but then sinking your teeth into a juicy burger or savoring the last bite of your favorite calorie- packed dessert can be very alluring.
For the Israelites, they were tempted by something that wasn’t good for them—false gods. God had warned them, and yet the pattern repeats itself once again. God’s choice of a rescue looks a little different this time. We meet Gideon, a farmer. And God sends an angel of the Lord to say to Gideon, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
Have you ever meditated on exactly how powerful God is? As our story of crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land comes to a conclusion, we shouldn’t rush past what we just read. We saw God at work in drying up the river so his people could walk across. “He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
Forever is a long time. We are included in the ones who are to know about this. It says “all nations.” How powerful is God? In this instance, he held back the water from flowing. A river during flood season. We’ve probably all seen dams along a river holding back the water. What a mighty spectacle of a contraption needed to keep water cooped up!
Are we as hard-headed as those in Judah? Do we look to the might of men instead of the majesty of God? Isaiah is pointing out to us again “What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” Can you imagine how hard it was for Isaiah to sit back and watch his friends and neighbors continue in their sinful ways?
We probably have friends and family, too, who are content going about their lives with little attention to God, much less giving him the respect he deserves. It is frustrating for me to see the indifference. Does it help that I read passages like this and realize that people today aren’t acting that much different than those in Isaiah’s day? Maybe just a little. Not many of us are looking to Egypt for help!