Despite all the words of warning and judgment in Isaiah, there is also much of comfort here. Chapter 30 contains two verses that have been meaningful to me for many years. In verse 15 we read,
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
When I was a teenager, I had a poster in my bedroom with this verse on it. The picture was of a duckling in the pocket of a denim shirt. I think, unconsciously, I thought of myself as being like that little duckling, protected in God’s pocket, close to his heart. I believe that is true for everyone who trusts in the Lord. Israel refused, for a time, to find her strength in quietness and trust in the Lord, to find her salvation in repentance and rest. However, that does not mean that we cannot take advantage of this promise. Whenever we turn to the Lord we find rest, salvation, quietness, and strength in him.
In the midst of World War II, C. S. Lewis wrote to his friend Owen Barfield,
The real difficulty, is, isn’t it, to adapt one’s steady beliefs about tribulation to this particular tribulation; for the particular, when it arrives, always seems so peculiarly intolerable. I find it helpful to keep it very particular—to stop thinking about the ruin of the world etc, for no one is going to experience that, and to see it as each individual’s personal sufferings, which never can be more than those of one man, or more than one man, if he were very unlucky, might have suffered in peacetime. Do you get sudden lucid intervals? Islands of profound peace? I do.: and though they don’t last, I think one brings something away from them.
I believe we can find the sort of peace Lewis talks about whenever we turn to the Lord, even if the world is seemingly falling apart all around us.
My other favorite verse in Isaiah 30 is 21:
And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
When we seek the Lord, through reading Scripture, and prayer, and through all the means of grace, I believe he does guide us. When we are quiet, and seek that interior stillness necessary to true spirituality, God speaks to us. However, it seems to me that he speaks to us most when we are in motion. As the saying goes, “Even God can’t steer a parked car.” We will find God guiding us as we make a move in life, whether to the right or to the left. If we listen for the Lord’s voice, then we will hear him saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” It may not be an audible voice, but God will speak to us in that sense of settled confidence, that peace, that is unmistakable to the believer as the sign and seal of God’s presence.