Isaiah 30: 1-21
1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt,
without asking for my direction,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh
and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame,
and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation...
everyone comes to shame
through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
but shame and disgrace.”...
7 Egypt's help is worthless and empty;
therefore I have called her
“Rahab who sits still.”
8 And now, go, write it before them on a tablet
and inscribe it in a book,
that it may be for the time to come
as a witness forever.
9 For they are a rebellious people,
children unwilling to hear
the instruction of the Lord;
who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
leave the way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
“Because you despise this word
and trust in oppression and perverseness
and rely on them,
therefore this iniquity shall be to you
like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse,
whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
and its breaking is like that of a potter's vessel
that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a shard is found
with which to take fire from the hearth,
or to dip up water out of the cistern.”
15 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.”
But you were unwilling,
and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Thoughts to share about a few words within the scripture that embody concepts:
sin to sin
"character defect to character defect." Remember, "sin" is a word derived from archery meaning "to miss the mark," the bullseye. That concept is much more gentle than many of us have been conditioned to think of that word! After all, most get closer with practice but only hit the precise point once in a while.
Egypt generally represents the land of enslavement and oppression in the Bible. The analogous interpretation of us now are tyrants, demagogues, or actual places that oppress and restrict, that we return to that are not safe for our Spirit. Egypt can also certainly be the "old ideas," false paradigms, counterfeit Gods that are comfortable familiar prisons.
"The land of enslavement" may be too narrow an interpretation of "Egypt" however, since it was also the land of salvation. Joseph was sold into slavery by his Hebrew brothers in the land of Canaan. He was transported to Egypt where, as a result of his divine connection and ability to interpret dreams, he was elevated to a high position where it was his responsibility to care for the food supply. The abundance of food supply is what ultimately led his rotten brothers to Egypt, who were starving back home in Canaan on account of a drought. Pharaoh loved and respected Joseph. But that lineage passed away and when Egypt was ruled by a cruel, ambitious, tyrannical man, the good times came to a close and the trouble began. So any reliance on a mortal human being is not recommended.
Once the Hebrews got free from the latter day Pharaoh after the parting of the Red Sea, they often complained that they were better off in Egypt and wanted to go back, especially when there was scarcity of food or water or when facing an intimidating enemy.
Aren't I the same way? God leads me through trials and I still doubt, waking up way too early to do the important work of worry...
the ruler, the person who embodies the leadership of that comfortable, familiar imprisoning paradigm or actual place in a life. "Good" Pharaoh or "bad" Pharaoh, either way, what matters is a connection with the divine since ALL are mortal and will pass away, just as does mist, grass, blossoms.
Rahab is said to represent Egypt so therefore "Rahab who sits still" means Egypt without power, mobility, without an army, without defense.
Another interpretation works better for me. "Rehab" is also the prostitute who saves the lives of Joshua's scouts when they tour Jericho to uncover its strengths and weaknesses. She hides the 3 men after the scouts agree to save her and her family when the city is destroyed.
So in the book of Joshua, Rahab is a savvy, articulate, God-fearing prostitute. If she is "sitting still." that means she has lost the identity revealed through her faithful actions. Now she's just an average prostitute with no customer and is simply seductive, attempting to connect men's drive with her sex. She is no longer a heroine who risks her life to hide the men and save her family, she is just a prostitute who lures men's seed away from where it is fruitful, where it bears children and gives life.
Zion specifically here means the city of Jerusalem. In the Old Testament, to dwell in Zion was to have the blessing to dwell in the city of God, sometimes called the city of David. After all, the city was repeatedly attacked and burned down and the people kidnapped to Babylon.
Zion is also the name of the mountain (really more a hill) where the temple within Jerusalem, built by David, is located. Within the temple, was the Holy of Holies. Only the Levitical High Priest could access God once a year in the Holy of Holies...after much extensive ritual cleansing as designated by the law of Moses, the Levitical law,
The moment Jesus died, the temple cracked and God was in a sense released from both the Levitical priesthood and law's restrictive cage to a new priest and law, those of the Order of Melchizedek. Jesus is the new high priest and his teaching is the new law which announces that the kingdom is within each individual, access only restricted by a lack of humility or the willingness to admit and let go of pride, fear, grandiosity, cruelty, hypocrisy, selfishness.
For us today, Zion is the kingdom of heaven within where we are all one, with one God, connected in one love.
"Burn the sacrifice of pride and ride onto Mount Zion"
from Fire of Heaven/Altar of Earth