REST upon GOD for His TIMING is always PERFECT: “All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: when he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; and when he blows a trumpet, you hear it. For so the Lord said to me, ‘I will take My rest, and I will look from My dwelling place like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’” (Isaiah 18:3-4)
The background of the above passage is that the prophet Isaiah pronounces doom on the land of Ethiopia (ancient Cush), located just south of Egypt. Ham is said to be its father of Cush (see Gen. 10:6). Ethiopia was a strong country that was able to dominate Egypt for 60 years, beginning in 715 B.C. The people of Ethiopia sent ambassadors to Israel, hoping to form a strong alliance against Assyria. In the meantime, God warned Hezekiah that He had no intention of intervening in the attack against Assyria, so Hezekiah should not align with Ethiopia. This alliance pact was doomed to fail since this plan ran contrary to the will of God. As a matter of fact, Ethiopia was heading for disaster!
Let us note the word of God in this matter: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile’” (1 Cor. 3:19-20). Because of their pride, the Ethiopians would be trodden under foot by the Assyrians. History records that Ethiopia was eventually defeated by Assyria at the height of her power according to God’ plan. The Assyrian invasion was God’s plan, and He would not intervene until He has accomplished His divine purposes!
In the referenced passage for today, it appears that all the inhabitants of the world are set to fight the people of God, but God appears to be at rest. The figure of God working in rest speaks of His indescribable power and unlimited sovereignty. God told Isaiah that He would wait quietly for them to come before destroying them (see Psalms 2:2-5, 9). He would watch silently and hover over the scene like the summer heat or the morning dew (vv. 3–4). But eventually God would destroy them in His time, leaving their carcasses to the beasts and birds of prey!
Let us understand that God is steady in His work, and always waits to act in His perfect time. Apostle Paul declares that God sent forth His Son Jesus Christ to this earth at the perfect time: "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Gal. 4:4-5). Everything that needed to happen in preparation of the arrival of Jesus had taken place. Thanks to the Roman Empire, they had made roads that connected city to city making it possible to share the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the land. The Roman Empire had also made the Greek language universal making it possible to share the gospel in a language that all could understand!
During His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus displayed this attribute of His heavenly Father when He waited for four days before raising Lazarus from the dead through a great miracle where God received all the glory (John 11:39-44). God’s delays flows out of His wisdom and love. It is possible that God may have delayed in answering many of our ‘critical’ prayers. However, let us understand that God’s delays are not His denials! These delays are meant to produce some worthwhile virtues in us – humility, patience, endurance, and persistence – qualities that take so long to be learned! Let us rest in God for His timing is always perfect!