Would you please explain the last phrase in Isaiah 28:16?


Isaiah 28:16 reads: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold I lay
in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious
cornerstone, a sure foundation; WHOEVER BELIEVES WILL NOT ACT HASTILY.”

What is meant with “Whoever believes will not act hastily”?

context clearly refers to the announcement of God THE FATHER to lay in
Zion (which many times describes the Church of God) a precious
cornerstone for a foundation. This describes the Messiah, Jesus Christ,
as many New Testament passages reveal (compare Matthew 21:42; Mark
12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 2:20; and 1 Peter

Notice, though, that this stone would be “tried” first.
Christ had to QUALIFY in His life as a human being to become the
foundation and the precious cornerstone–on which the New Testament
Church would be built. We read that Christ became perfect through
suffering (Hebrews 2:10); and that He was tempted in all things, just
as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He had to overcome
(Revelation 3:21)–Satan, this world, and His own human nature or His
sinful flesh (Romans 8:3)–as He WAS a human being, FULLY flesh and
blood when here on earth. He had BECOME flesh (John 1:14), having set
aside His divinity or “equality with God” (Philippians 2:6-8). The
Ryrie Study Bible points out in their comments to Isaiah 28:16, that
“Messiah is a FOUNDATION stone in His atonement, a TRIED STONE in His
temptations, and a PRECIOUS CORNER STONE in His relationship to His

As CHRIST overcame or BECAME victorious in all things,
so must WE (Revelation 2:26). It was a battle for Christ (Hebrews
5:6-8), and we too must FIGHT to conquer and win (Romans 8:37). But
with God the Father and Christ living in us through the power of the
Holy Spirit, we CAN win (Ephesians 6:10-17).

With this
background, let’s consider God’s statement in Isaiah 28:16 that we
won’t “act hastily” when we truly “believe.” Many, who are not really
called by God to salvation, act very “hastily” or “with excitement”
when they hear God’s Word proclaimed to them. The Hebrew word for
“hastily” is “chuwsh”, or “chush,” and means literally, “to hurry,” but
it also means figuratively, “to be eager with excitement or enjoyment”
(compare Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, No. 2363).
However, an enthusiastic immediate response to an “altar call,” to
“give our heart to Jesus” right there and then, is never an answer to
God’s TRUE calling. The reason being, we must first thoroughly count
the cost to determine whether we have enough to complete what we begin
(Luke 14:28). The one who starts and looks back is not fit for the
Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).

As the recent history in the Church
of God has shown, many who supposedly had “started” did not continue.
They just gave up, embracing the pleasures and philosophies of this
world, which they supposedly left behind when they “embraced” God’s Way
of life. They supposedly accepted the truth of the Bible that God IS a
Family–but not a Trinity– that GOD–the GOD FAMILY–IS reproducing
HIMSELF through MAN; that we are to keep today God’s commanded Holy
Days–the weekly Sabbath and the Annual Feast Days; that we are to
forsake pagan holidays such as Sunday, Christmas or Easter; that we–as
Christ’s ambassadors–are to come out of this world and be different,
by not participating in worldly endeavors such as government elections,
jury duty, or military service. And the list is ongoing, including even
such “physical things” as God’s dietary laws. Many once seemingly
understood those teachings. Some of them were very adamant, to the
point of becoming offensive with their radical and condemnatory
preaching, about those matters. But suddenly, when the spirit of the
world took hold of the leadership of their “parent” organization, they
followed the wrong teachings of spiritually unqualified men and
embraced “their” new understanding–which was EXACTLY what they had all
left behind when accepting God’s Way of Life. How convicted had they
ever been? How much time had they spent PROVING the truth to
themselves? Were they EVER converted? The late human leader of the
Church, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, felt at times that not even 10
percent of those who were attending Church services, CLAIMING to be
members, were truly converted. Subsequent facts have established how
RIGHT he was in this.

Many acted HASTILY. The seed of God’s Word
fell on stony places. Yes, they received the seed IMMEDIATELY with joy,
but when tribulation or persecution came because of the word,
IMMEDIATELY they stumbled (Matthew 13:20-21). They did not like to be
called a cult by the established religions of this world, and so they
tried to become accepted in the eyes of men, loving the honor and
praise of men more than the honor from God (John 5:44; 12:43).

true Christian who believes in God the Father and Jesus Christ, and who
is willing to OBEY them, will not act “hastily.” He understands that
His decision to follow God, and to be baptized as a consequence, is a
life-long commitment. He will have counted the cost first. He will not
be baptized just because of peer pressure–because other Church members
or attendees might have expected him to, or because his Church
organization is anxious to report how many of their new members have
been baptized through their preaching of the Word. Such types of
“altar-call conversions” simply do not last.

At the same time,
he SHOULD act hastily, and not delay, when he is ready for baptism. In
general, it is necessary to make haste, enthusiastically, regarding our
ongoing spiritual growth and the Work of God. We are not to be slack in
what we are doing (Zephaniah 3:16). The same Hebrew word, “chush,”
which is used in Isaiah 28:16, meaning, “acting hastily,” is used in
Psalm 119:60, where David said: “I made haste, and did not delay To
Keep Your commandments.” He also asked God repeatedly to make haste to
help him (Psalm 38:22; 40:13; 70:5; 71:12; 141:1).

We are even
told that God will hasten His work in His due time (Isaiah 60:22). But
even here, a word of caution is in order: It is correct that we can
hasten the coming of the day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:12) by the way we
live. At the same time, God grants us room for repentance, not willing
that anyone in the Church should perish (2 Peter 3:9). But God does not
grant us time for repentance forever, and while God allots time to us,
we might be guilty of delaying Christ’s coming. The key is our
conduct–the way we live. BUT, we are not to DESIRE the Day of the Lord
in respect to others, to see God’s punishment inflicted upon them
(Jeremiah 17:16; Proverbs 17:5)–nor should we desire Christ’s coming,
if we are not ready for it (Amos 5:18). We are not to behave like those
mentioned in Isaiah 5:18-19: “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords
of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope; That say, ‘Let Him make
speed and hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the counsel of
the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, That we may know it.'”

speak facetiously, of course, not believing that God is in their lives,
or that God is still doing a Work here on earth. They might have
convinced themselves that God’s Work is done–and that all that is
required of them today is to make themselves ready. BUT, a Church
member who just concentrates on himself, while ignoring or rejecting
God’s Work, will NOT be ready when Christ returns.

Even in our
converted Christian life, it is prudent not to act too hastily. It is
always good to consider (Proverbs 14:15); take good counsel before
making a decision (Proverbs 11:14; 20:18); and, especially, to pray to
God, with faith, for wisdom and understanding as to what to do in a
certain circumstance (James 1:2-8). Our human tendencies might be to
react immediately–sometimes even before we might have fully heard a
matter (Proverbs 18:13)–but God tells us in many places to wait for
Him (Isaiah 30:18; 64:4). This is not to say that we are not to act at
all–but we are to make sure, first, that our action is in harmony with
God’s Will. As Isaiah 40:31 says: “But those who WAIT on the LORD Shall
renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they
shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

addition, Paul seems to quote Isaiah 28:16 in a slightly different way,
in Romans 9:33, including the following thought: “… And whoever
believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Peter states the same, in 1
Peter 2:6: “… and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to
shame.” This conveys essentially the same meaning: The one who does not
act hastily, but places His trust and confidence in God, shall not have
the shame of failure and disappointment. Matthew Henry’s Commentary
states: “And he that believes these promises, and rests upon them,
shall not make haste, but with a fixed heart shall quietly wait the
event, saying, Welcome the will of God.”

Some translations render
Isaiah 28:16 in such a way that the one who believes in God and His
promises shall not waiver; that he shall not be worried; that he shall
not be in a frenzy; or that he shall not have cause for panic. All
these renderings are meaningful, in the sense that the one who believes
in God will wait for His Will to be revealed in his life; and in doing
so, he will not be fearful and worried, trying hastily to “solve” a
problem on his own–without God.

Next time we are tempted to act
before we have heard or considered all the facts and circumstances, let
us remember God’s profound admonishment and encouragement in Isaiah
28:16: As we have a TRIED cornerstone–Jesus Christ–in Whom we
believe; on Whom we build our lives; and Who lives in us; let us NOT
“act hastily.”

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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