Isaiah 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” two little lines of text that hinge the oracle of disaster for an ‘obstinate nation.’ For fourteen words strung together (in the English version), there’s a huge theological punch catapulting us to new and true heights in faithfulness of response to God’s grace--all via the strength of spiritual confidence and calmness of foot.
This is one thing that separates many religions from Christianity. We realise an incredibly paradoxical spiritual freedom when we can get our heads around our sinful natures, and the fact that we’ve already been forgiven means it’s so much easier to forgive those who trespass against us.
When no one can hurt us beyond our own capability to forgive, as we draw on God’s incomparable strength, we find an inspirational strength, and with it, peace and rest.
We have finally the power of resolve and the sight of truth to hear and see God as he draws us to confess and address our sin. Our hearts are moved to the moral high ground. Repentance is a “returning” to God.
This is the symbol that stands alone in our beckoning light to an indifferent world. The world notices something of rest and hope in us--which is something it can’t explain, but naturally wants to know more about. ‘How exactly does this Christian person deal so evenly with everything,’ seems to be the sentiment.
We enter the rest in obedience to the whisper of God’s Spirit--it’s a biblical principle in both Old and New Testaments.
This is humility. A quieted spirit dwells in control. Quietness is a sign of peace and rest. But there’s external quietness and internal quietness. Internal quietness is a resigned level of confidence of faith. Any busy person knows this sort of “absence of frenzy and restless anxiety” is something to be envied. It “evidences a true trust.”
Trust accepts many things with a quiet level of confidence and it’s seemingly rooted deeply in the previous three, underpinning them.
All these four attributes equal up to be the perfect defence against fear. Repentance, in a second, squashes the fear of shame and guilt. Rest, quietness and trust are the results of faith, but it is trust alone that imbues faith.
This life, the culmination of these factors of Isaiah 30:15, brings a unique kind of strength--indeed, a ‘warrior strength’ which is “strength for life’s battles and challenges.” This is why God is so insistent we follow him. He knows the way we were made. He knows how pathetic we are on our own.