It is gross absurdity to forsake the Rock of Ages for broken reeds.
If men will not court God’s wisdom and power to act for them in the time of danger,
they will find it to act against them,
though they have the strongest of men to aid them.
Make not man your confidence, for man can do nothing without God.
1 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!
2 Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.
4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
6 ¶ Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.
7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
8 ¶ Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.
9 And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign, saith the LORD, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Isaiah 31:1-9 – A Nobler Future for the Nation
Isaiah continues to denounce the contemplated alliance with Egypt. His compatriots put their trust in horses and chariots, and refused the help of their fathers’ God. Yet was He not so wise as the Egyptians, and equally as strong! And were they not running a fearful risk in rejecting One who would not recall His words of threatened punishment to those who refused His help? At best, the Egyptians were men, and not God, and their cavalry, flesh. If only they would trust Him, God would defy their foes, as a lion defies a company of unarmed shepherds, Isaiah 31:4. The mother-bird hovers over her brood to protect it from the kestrel; so would He spread His covering wing over Jerusalem, Isaiah 31:5. We may have deeply revolted, yet we may turn back to God with the certainty that He will receive and rescue us, Isaiah 31:6. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Isaiah 31:5—As birds flying, so will the LORD of Hosts defend Jerusalem.
It was a beautiful conception, for Jerusalem was perched on Mount Zion, as some bird’s nest in the cleft of the rocks. Lo! Sennacherib approaches as the hawk, hovering above the fledglings of the nest. But just as the mother-bird gathers her young under her wing, and places herself between her treasures and threatening peril, so would the eternal God spread those wings, under which Ruth came to trust in the old time, over the entire city. To Isaiah there was no cause for fear when Sennacherib’s legions were encamped on the mountains of Zion. He, at least, realized that the pinions of Almightiness were between the cowering citizens and the dreaded foe. Warm and safe was such abiding.
How wonderful that Jesus should have appropriated this metaphor, and spoken of Himself as willing to gather Jerusalem under his wing to save her from a more terrible fate! Does it not bespeak his consciousness of Deity that He should hide the people under the shadow of his care?
This may be our daily portion. The Lord of Hosts will be strong as the lion that growls over his prey, undismayed by the multitude of shepherds that shout at him; and He will be sweet and soft and gentle as a mother-bird. Always believe that Jesus stands between you and what you dread. Even now He is passing over you. Do you not hear Him saying (John 18:8), “If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way”? Isaac Pennington, an old follower of George Fox, who had considerable experience of the prisons of his time, said he often felt the healing drop from the wings of Christ. The sense of God’s presence and of his power are as two wings, beneath which the believer nestles, till calamities be overpast. —Our Daily Homily