The irony of Israel seeking help from Egypt is obvious to us by now. Years before Isaiah’s generation, YHWH delivered Israel from Egypt’s yoke through mighty wonders. Now God’s people intend to turn to Egypt for strength and protection against Babylon. Isaiah will not be the only prophet to warn Israel of the folly of placing their hope in Egypt, for Jeremiah and Ezekiel will also warn against such misplaced trust.
The problem isn’t simply Egypt’s inability to offer troops or strength, for from a human standpoint Egypt could improve Israel’s military strength. Rather, God is angry that Israel still hasn’t learned to place her trust in God. God has proven stronger than Egypt, the Philistines, the Moabites, and every nation Israel has faced. God could send a small legion of angels or even the angel of death to destroy Israel’s opponents. Still, they do not call on God’s name.
What’s the big deal in God’s mind? Truly, everything is at stake in this one sin: distrust. Our first parents failed to trust God by doubting His commands and trustworthiness. The original sin is repeated by us daily. God is constant in trying to drive out our distrust in Him. So, when we notice ourselves trusting money for safety, or friendships for power, or our wisdom to determine truth, I call us in sight of our God and Father to turn to God for all that He intends to provide. For “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).