Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord ! – Isa. 31:1 KJV
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Although the biblical book of Isaiah focused more on the actions of the Israelites and the reactions and plans of the Almighty God to these actions, there are still many important statements recorded within the book that would guide the Christian of any generation towards living a happy life in the Lord. The scripture for today’s devotion falls into that category as it attempts to let those who go down to Egypt for help know that they are exposing themselves to some potential sorrow or distress.
The Prophet Isaiah is definitely not against the seeking of help probably because he is very much aware that there is no one in this world that will not require help to achieve one goal or the other. The help required by people will be different as it will depend on the stage of life that one finds him/her self and other socio-economic factors but the bottom line is that no human being succeeds in life without some form of help or the other. The area of concern for Isaiah is who the one who requires help turns to when help is needed. The Prophet Isaiah is in no doubt that seeking help from some sources will only increase pain and sorrow, either in the short or long term. He lists some of those sources, with regards to the Israelites of his day, some of which are comparable to some areas that people of today also seek help from, as follows:
- Going down to Egypt. For the Israelites, there is no doubt that they have a long history of provision of help from Egypt right from the time of Abraham (Gen. 12:10-20), to the final movement of the Israelites to Egypt in the days of Joseph – Gen. 45:16-47:12. Although the Egyptians turned out to be oppressors, it still did not hinder the fact that even Jesus Christ was protected by the Almighty God by being taken to Egypt (Matt. 2:13-23) so one may not one to blame those Israelites who started seeing Egypt as some form of saviour in times of trouble. However the common denominator on all these occasions is that the movement was at the directive of the Almighty God and not a decision taken based on personal conviction. That someone has a record of providing help does not mean your help or anyone’s help for that matter will come from that source. He whom the Lord will not help, no one can help. All help come from the Lord who created the heavens and earth – Psa. 121:1.
- Staying on horses. To stay on a horse, especially high horse is a phrase used to describe arrogance and pride. One who is said to be sitting on a high horse is regarded as being very proud or arrogant. The Prophet Isaiah makes it clear that getting help with an arrogant or proud attitude will always produce sorrow and pain. No one is comfortable around an arrogant or proud person and being seen in such light by people will definitely not be positive. Help for such a person may be far-fetched. Remain humble at all times and let such acts be known to people around you and you can rest, assured that the right help will come when you need it.
- Trusting in the number of chariots. Believing that possession of a high number of chariots being a useful tool of battle is a proof that such can be depended upon for help will also potentially produce pain and sadness. Many today base request for help on the abundance of what they need with the one from whom they are seeking help. That such has what you need in abundance is no guarantee that he has you in his projections. If God does not lay it in the mind of such a person to share that abundance with you, all you will end up with is a broken heart and disappointment. Do not rely on such help as you may not even be aware of why such a person amassed all those things, as such may have a need that may be much larger than how you may rate your own need.
- Trusting in the strength of horsemen. This is similar to deciding your source of help based on physical assessment of the capability of the person. Looks may be very deceitful. It may also be true that the source been approached for help may actually be strong but relative to the challenge for which you need help, it may be powerless. Only the Almighty God knows the appropriate help you require in that situation and it is Him only that you can trust to solve it efficiently.
Prophet Isaiah is of no doubt that sooner than later, anyone who sources for help based on the above parameters will regret such choices.
Like any positive critic who not only criticizes but proffers suggestions and alternative opinion, he states clearly that seeking for help in the following manner will be a better approach to getting help:
- Looking unto the Holy One of Israel. To look into someone is to see no other. It means that total focus is on that singular source with full conviction that the expected solution will come. One who is looking up to the Holy One of Israel has no thought of any other source through which the expected help can or should come. Should, because such a person is even prepared to forsake any other form of help if found not to be linked to the Almighty God. The lame man at the Beautiful Gate looked unto Peter and John and he was healed as he got more than he even expected. Learn to look unto the Almighty God for everything and you will never be disappointed.
- Seeking the Holy One of Israel. To seek for the Holy One of Israel is to strive to know more about Him. This will also require seeking for Him in places where he can be found and when He can be found. It will be definitely impossible to get help from someone whom you hardly know or do not know at all. Seek to know Him more by regularly meditating on His Words. Meet with Him more often in the place of prayer and you can be sure that he will render help for you in times of your need.
Prophet Isaiah is in no doubt that choosing this well proven path, when in need of any form of help and at any stage in life will be an action not to be regretted. This is a choice that you must consider and take if you must have permanent joy from that sought and received help. May God send you help in your times of need in Jesus name. Amen.