1 Oy! Those who go down Egypt way for help! They count on horses and trust in chariots because there are so many, and in horsemen because they are very numerous, but they do not put confidence in the holy one of Israel, and they do not consult Yahveh. 2 And yes, he is has deep understanding, and he brings disaster, and he does not forget his words, and he will rise against an evildoer’s house of and against workers of iniquity’s assistance. 3 But these human Egyptians are not God, and their horses’ flesh is not spirit. So Yahveh stretches out his hand, and a helper will stumble, and one being helped will fall, and all of them together will come to a complete end. 4 Because Yahveh said this to me: “Just like when a lion roars and a young lion over its prey even when a full complement of shepherds is called out to fight him, it is not terrified by their shouts, and it does not respond to their noise, so Yahveh of armies will come down to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill.”
There is safety in numbers, except when there is not. This is the fact that Isaiah is pointing out to his people. The inhabitants of Judah are fully convinced that they should align themselves politically with their ancient enemy, Egypt. The reason: the Egyptians have a great cavalry with so many chariots and horses. Isaiah says no. He says that confidence in numbers is stupid. Those horses are just flesh, and the coming invader can only be stopped by spirit. When you have a large crowd collecting itself against a divine force, they are all going to come to an end together. It’s like when a large group of shepherds come together and shout at a hungry lion. No matter how many shepherds there are, their shouts are not going to deter the lion. We need to remember that the next time we are tempted to hold a view just because it is the majority view. We need to stop and think about our own crowd confidence.
Looking at it a different way, we should not be too troubled when the majority turns against us. They will, if we dare to stand up for truth and righteousness in a world which values the lie and unrighteousness. Sometimes it will seem like the whole world is amassing itself against us. We should make sure we are speaking God’s truth, and if so, hold our ground, regardless of the number of shepherd shouts.
LORD, we want to put our confidence in you and your word, not in the crowd.