Sermons. “In repentance and rest is your salvation…”

You may notice that people suffer, not only from the disaster, but also from the panic during disaster. They could have avoided a lot if their hearts had not been consumed with panic that strikes our inner and outer world order.


Sergey Koudrin

Today I suggest that you meditate on this verse from Isaiah 30:15: “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says”


“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.”

It is a wonderful place in the Holy Scripture that is telling about quietness and rest that we lack sometimes in our life. Moreover, this verse in the Bible speaks about certain conditions that open the door for us into the very important promise of salvation and strength of all our personality: the soul, the body and the spirit. Every normal Christian wants to be strong in the soul, the spirit and the body. It is evident to not use this strength in unkind things in a sinful life but to be used to serve God. He will surround us with His Will.

This is said of certain conditions although they are presented here not only as conditions but also as a wonderful sphere of our relationship with God, about which the Holy Spirit tells through the prophet Isaiah.

We all know the situations in our life when we hear the words that sound very clear to our consciousness: “Everybody stays in your place!” or “Everybody keeps silent!” For instance, before the take-off of an airplane, we hear the calm voice of a stewardess that says to stay at our seat. Sometimes, when it is dealing with danger in our lives, then this call sounds categorically “Everybody stay in your own place!!!” It is clear, because in critical circumstances, we often become anxious and loose control over ourselves. From time to time, our soul flies to the problem or human relationship that trouble us. Today, this condition has to do with us also, who have come to this place this morning to worship God. It is offered for us also to be at this part of the service with, not only our body, but with our soul keeping the quietness of our heart in order for God’s Salvation to be established in our life.

What is the goal and purpose of these words? The goal is to avoid panic. Panic is a violation of a certain order. There is order everywhere: in our social life and in our spiritual life. These words call for keeping order. Very often, panic can be a very dangerous condition. We turn the TV on and watch scenes of panic regularly in everyday news. You may notice that people suffer, not only from the disaster, but also from the panic during disaster. They could have avoided a lot if their hearts had not been consumed with panic that strikes our inner and outer world order. The ship “Estonia” was sunk in the Baltic Sea several years ago. This is exactly what happened there: frightened people jumped into the water on top of each other, bringing tragedy to all. Nothing could have stopped them. Panic becomes a very dangerous condition when a person is destroyed, not by the disaster, but by the condition itself and puts the person in death’s danger.

Dear friends, we read in Isaiah 30 of the panic with which the Israelites were consumed. God told them: “ In repentance and rest is your salvation”. This is not the call for inactivity. The Gospel of Christ says, “Follow me” and is meant as an action. God is always in an active and creative process and He desires to see the same in us as well. The call of calmness in our inner being and not to panic is found in the prophet’s words, because the Hebrews stopped relying on God and started looking for other variants of salvation. Thus, it says in the 7th verse of Isaiah 30: “To Egypt, whose help is utterly helpless. Therefore I have called her Rahab, the Do-Nothing.” Watch after yourselves! Sometimes it takes much effort to refrain from not doing something. This is normal in our life and in our human heart. We believe we need to be doing something all the time. The Hebrews felt the same way in their inner being. They were looking at the direction of Egypt from where they saw desirable changes that had come into their lives. It is possible that they considered this in a religious context: “And doesn’t God want to do something in our circumstances with the hand of Egypt?” It happens to us as well when we put our dependence in people and circumstances. Afterwards, we experience a deep disappointment and drastic strikes of destiny if the activity was motivated by panic of the heart. It is not the movement of the belief. It is the movement of panic and it will be futile. It is without any results. God said to the Israelites that the help of Egypt was utterly useless.

How does it happen in Christian life? Panic of a Christian is a dangerous enemy that one faces in real life circumstances. It is, first of all, panic understanding of our relation with God. I often remind my listeners of one simple example that has probably happened to every believer. We are going to a Sunday service; we are in a hurry; we have just missed the bus and the doors close before us. At the same moment, a thought occurs in our minds: ”God, probably I have sinned. May be I don’t need to go to the service at all?” We start hesitating with God in such a situation. We regard His attitude to us in a primitive manner; that is, in the light of everyday circumstances and disorders; frightening thoughts come to our minds at once. We lose the inner world.

It is, especially, revealed clearly, during the temptation of Jesus Christ in the desert. What was it based on? It was based on the words: ”If you are the Son of God”. If, if, if…pushes to a certain hesitation in your position as a Son-“but what if it is not like that”. Hesitation intrudes into our subconscious. Sometimes, it is connected to people’s actions: our relatives, friends, with actions of our anxious mind that asks a question to itself: “If you are really a son of God why don’t you have enough money, why did you get sick and not get over it. If you are God’s son then tell, ask to change everything”. One of authors of the Psalms, while meditating on such questions, sins in his thoughts but after that, he confesses before God, deeply regretting that he has looked at visual success of dishonest people and has envied the madness of those people. But just exactly the same thoughts visit the hearts of human beings: “If I am God’s son, why do they act so unjustly toward me and why does it happen this way?” Many “why’s” knock on man’s consciousness. If we look through it and accept this movement, then we get into the same temptation through which Jesus Christ went through.

The next step on this way is in the hesitation in God and the way He considers your relationship with Him. The movement of the heart following after that, is the motivation and the belief that we are God’s children but there is panic in man’s heart: “Prove people!” Unfortunately, there are many such movements in the Christian world. We begin to try to prove something to the surrounding peoples, to prove to ourselves and at the same time, we begin to experience more inner disappointment. But we have another completely wonderful sphere for proving: “To prove and to show God’s glory to people!” It would be better to use our strength in this direction.

What does the Scripture offer us? The diagnosis of God’s Word says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation…but you would have none of it.”(Isaiah 30:15). Apparently, we believe the Holy Spirit regards dwelling in something or somewhere as a decision of our heart or its absence.(the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity and dwells in us as Christians, not in something or somewhere) More often than not, we stir ourselves up and then unable to calm down, we rush about as “a squirrel in a wheel.” Being a pastor, I can tell that sometimes it takes many years to calm people down: “Don’t think this way, don’t panic, don’t worry but continue believing!” It has been proven that there is something attractive in all this hustle and bustle because a person doesn’t want to leave the endless circle of trials and troubles.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation” is the element of the movement in the belief of salvation that is so important to us. Jesus Christ says in John 15: 7-8, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” This is the Holy position, “the Holy reality that we are meant to accept it, first of all, by the belief of our heart.” This is our way in Christ, in His love.

Friends, sometimes we show this Love in trying to prove something to somebody. “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (John 15:9-10). These words of Jesus are replenished by the call to stay calm and quiet at certain positions before God. How does dwelling with the presence of the powerful and loving you personally, enable Him to fulfill the soul with deep piece and quietness?

I am surprised by the children’s example of how trustful they are and how assured they are in their parent’s love and care. When you return from one of your trips, children usually do not ask questions such as: “Dad, how are you doing? How was your trip back?” They meet you at the door with loving arms and their troubles: “My pen was broken; we went to the cinema…. Dad, you did not forget to bring what you promised, did you?” A child’s memory is excellent! What if our memory worked the same toward the promises of our Heavenly Father? Usually, we start to panic (or to become anxious) when we wonder how He cares for us, how He will keep us, how He will bless us, ect. But dear friends, these are His cares, His promises. He takes the responsibility for accomplishment and He manages to do it very well without our help, the awkward helpers that we sometimes appear to be in His deals. The Scripture tells us to have faith as a child in order to dwell in love and care of our Father. The hustle and bustle of the world winds around us, tell us that we need to do something, that we have to prove something. The answer for us are the words of Jesus found in John 6:29: “The work of God is this: to believe in the Him whom He has sent.” He answers here to the anxious people, like we are, that ask Him: “what do we need to do in order to do God’s will?” Apparently, to believe is a serious deal of God’s that we sometimes don’t have. To believe means to have God dwelling in us constantly; to stay in His Word that He gave to us, because He presents himself as a personality in these words. The Holy Spirit and the Scripture appeal to us in this.

Going back to the text, we read further in Isaiah 30:15: “…in quietness and rest is your strength”. Usually, we imagine that to build life’s fortress for ourselves is to have everything reliable and reasonable (safe and sound) putting into it a lot of power, abilities and efforts. But there is another way to do that. The quietness and trust is given and then they become our strength: the strength of the soul, spirit and our body. Only people who are calm and confident inside themselves have life, power and attractiveness.

Speaking about quietness, it is worthy of saying that it is not said here that the quietness is of lifeless, deathly silence or about the Buddhist absent nirvana. It is said about silence in hope and about the quietness that is full of wonderful and mysterious (secret) expectation. It is fulfilled and dying down before something has to happen. The Scripture speaks about this particular quietness. We hear sometimes the most sacred words, and the most intimate ideas in this quietness. Remind yourself of those words and moments in your life when you or somebody declared their love for you. How was it? Through tempest and thunder, you heard deafening her/his words: “I love you!”

Friends, I have never had this experience yet, and I think that maybe it does not exist in nature. But we all have said, and I also, those words very quietly, whispering to your beloved person in order that only he/she could hear that sacred declaration.

Why is that? May be we have become slaves and hostages of stupid traditions that we need to break? Nothing of the sort! As a timid bird that flits away from a quick movement, so do tender feelings not stand rudeness. We want to say to the most dear: “I love you” only in the fragile quietness, in order that these words reach the heart of the beloved person without any harm.

Friends, our Loving God wants to talk to us also in quietness and we want to hear the voice of God. We talk about that, and pray and sigh. But what is the very important thing that we have to do for that? God wants to talk in quietness. There was a quietness in the Holy Tabernacle of Israel. This was the place of God’s presence and He talked there. He talked to the prophet Elijah in the breath of a quiet wind and not in the tempest and earthquake. God wants to talk to us in quietness and our task is to learn to make this quiet time with Him a priority in our inner world; to reinstate the loosing art of creating quiet time in this hustle and bustle life. To be still, to calm down and to listen to what God is going to tell you during your quiet time with Him, is the major part of your relationship with God. Only His words become the source of our strength and our confidence. So, to come back to this text again

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy one of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.”

What decision will we make? Will we be willing to work on what is offered us? I think the task is not so difficult for we will be giving back a lot that is the salvation and the fortress of our life. The fortress, to which we aspire to, is the security of our houses, families, and churches, in which God allows us to live, to serve Him and to worship Him. What decision will we make? To believe with all our hearts of allowing God to dwell in us, to learn to make quiet time, reinstating the loosing art of quiet time and, of course, to stay calm in the area of our relationship with God. However, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6: 25-34 “to not be anxious for anything…” I would like us to be especially blessed by God so we won’t put it off to the next days of our life. Today we are having a day in which we can experience this precious promise from God to us. Let our hearts learn to make a victory over this very dangerous enemy of the inner world that is called panic, (anxiety) growing hesitation regarding our position toward God and our relationship with Him. God bless each of us!