The Impetuous Side Of Impatience & A Warning From The Lord”

Scripture: Isaiah 30:1-5

Now let’s look at an illustration of Israel when she did not do this.

During Isaiah’s day Israel was threatened by enemies like Assyria. During those times God sent the prophet with his word to tell Israel how he wanted them to respond to the threat. But one time Israel became impatient with God’s timing. The danger was too close. The odds for success were too small. Isaiah 30:1-2 describes what Israel did in her impatience.

Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, who carry out a plan, but not mine; and who make a league, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!

This is the opposite of waiting on the Lord. Israel became impatient. God had not delivered them from their enemy in the time or in the way that they had hoped, and patience ran out. They sent to Egypt for help. They made a plan and treaty, but they weren’t God’s. The key words are in verse 2: “They set out to go down to Egypt, WITHOUT ASKING FOR MY COUNSEL.”

This is a perfect illustration of the impetuous side of impatience. This is where many of us sin almost daily: charging ahead in our own plans without stopping to consult the Lord.

So the Lord gives a warning in verse 3: “Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh [the king of Egypt!] turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.” In other words, your impatience is going to backfire on you. Egypt will not deliver you; it will be your shame. Your impatience will turn out to be your humiliation.

This is meant as a warning for all of us. When our way is blocked and the Lord says wait, we better trust him and wait, because if we run ahead without consulting him, our plans will probably not be his plans and they will bring shame on us rather than glory. (See Isaiah 50:10-11 and the case of Abraham and Hagar for the same point.)

John Piper

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