I love the beginning of this passage: “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But unfortunately I am all too familiar with the second part of verse 15: “…but you would have none of it.” We are all too willing to accept the rest and quietness… the repentance and trust part? Not so much.
We are more willing to run from our problems than to bring them to God and find deliverance. (v. 16) “You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.” This could mean anything from going on a spending spree when you’re flat broke, to stuffing all of your over due bills in a drawer before even opening them, to putting off a phone call you need make but are too ashamed or frightened to do. Quietness and rest have flown from you… and you cannot face the mess you have made… so it’s off to the races.
But the running does you no good. Your problems have faster horses. (vv. 16b) “Therefore your pursuers will be swift.” Any runners out there? Are you fleeing from God? Unwilling to own up to past mistakes… unwilling to seek treatment for self inflicted wounds… unwilling to dismount your rebellious thoroughbred? Beware… God knows a thing or two about horses. (Job 39:19-25) He made them and He can break them.
Did you ever wonder what God thinks about us runners? Verse 18 tells us: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait from him!”
The word for longing in Hebrew is “châkâh”. It has as its root the Hebrew word for “carving” or “engraving.” The connection appears to be the idea of piercing. What pierces the heart of God? The idea of being gracious to you… and yet “you will have no part of it.” He stands to dispense his compassion and grace in abundance. (Eph. 1:7-8) But who receives it? Not those “heading for the hills.” But those that in stillness,… wait. The rewards for repentance and trust are awesome and fill the end of the chapter: Answered Prayer (v. 19b), Guidance (v. 21), Fruitfulness (v. 23-26), Victory (v. 27-33) and Joy (v. 29).
Ready to stop running and let God love you? Then, calm down thoroughbred! Let him break you down. Wait on Him… He longs to give you the rest and quiet you’ve always longed for.