Return and Rest, Isaiah 30:15, Alexander MacLaren's notes

For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.”
-Isaiah 30:15

I believe that we need to return and rest.  I used to read this verse as, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  We do need to repent.  Repentance is turning away from sin, but the idea here, from the words chosen, is that repenting is returning; coming home to God.
We repent from and return to.  Repentance is returning.

The idea that Isaiah is speaking against, or the ailment for which he speaks the cure; is doing our own thing and not resting.  And this is a word for believers.

The believers were in trouble.  They needed deliverance.  God gave them a way.  And they said, "no thanks."

How can this be and how might we be like this?
  • They and we are believers who won't repent.
    • Self-righteous.
    • Unbelieving believers.
    • We belong to God, but refuse to be transformed.
    • We are sheep without a shepherd, gone astray, to our own ways.
  • They and we would not rest.
    • We are busy building our houses, our lives, our selves.
    • We are burned out and need renewal.
    • We are stale and need refreshing.
    • We are dead and need reviving.
    • We don't hear God, because we won't stop and listen long enough.
    • We are frustrated that God won't help us build, when He want's us to let Him build.
  • They and we were constant talkers.
    • We have an opinion on everything.
    • We have lost that listening is loving.
    • We quietness is a sign of faith.
I want to repent and return to God.  I want to rest.  And I want to be quiet.

These are my notes from Alexander MacLaren's Isaiah commentary:

We depart from God by speculative thought or by anxious care, or by sin.

To ‘return’ is just to trust.

Note, too, that every want of confidence is a departure from God. We go away from Him not only by open sin, not only by denial of Him, but by forgetfulness, by want of faith.

‘Rest’ and ‘being quiet’ are treated here partly as consequences of faith.

See how confidence in God stills and quiets the soul.

Communion with Him brings peace and rest, inasmuch as all things are then possessed which we can desire. 

Trust in God brings rest from our own evil consciences.

It brings rest from our own plans and purposes.

Trust gives insight into the meaning of all this else unintelligible world.

Rest is not:

  • the absence of causes of disturbance.

  • the abnegation of forethought.

  • indolent passiveness.

Notice the duty of being thus quiet and resting.

How much we fail in this respect.

We have faith, but there seems some obstruction which stops it from flowing refreshingly through our lives.

We are bound to seek for its increased continuity and power in our hearts and lives.

Trust is the condition of being ‘saved.’

And not only so, but also trust is strength. God works for us; yes, but better than that, God works in us and fits us to work.

Stillness of soul, born of communion with God, makes us strong.

Stillness of soul, born of deliverance from our fears, makes us strong.

Trust, so shall we be at rest and safe. Being at rest and safe, we shall be strong. If we link ourselves with God by faith, God will flash into us His mysterious energy, and His strength will be made perfect in our weakness.