In The Word
Read: Isaiah 48
48 “Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are named Israel
And who came forth from the loins of Judah,
Who swear by the name of the Lord
And invoke the God of Israel,
But not in truth nor in righteousness.
2 “For they call themselves after the holy city
And lean on the God of Israel;
The Lord of hosts is His name.
3 “I declared the former things long ago
And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them.
Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.
4 “Because I know that you are obstinate,
And your neck is an iron sinew
And your forehead bronze,
5 Therefore I declared them to you long ago,
Before they took place I proclaimed them to you,
So that you would not say, ‘My idol has done them,
And my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.’
6 “You have heard; look at all this.
And you, will you not declare it?
I proclaim to you new things from this time,
Even hidden things which you have not known.
7 “They are created now and not long ago;
And before today you have not heard them,
So that you will not say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
8 “You have not heard, you have not known.
Even from long ago your ear has not been open,
Because I knew that you would deal very treacherously;
And you have been called a rebel from birth.
9 “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath,
And for My praise I restrain it for you,
In order not to cut you off.
10 “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.
12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
13 “Surely My hand founded the earth,
And My right hand spread out the heavens;
When I call to them, they stand together.
14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon,
And His arm will be against the Chaldeans.
15 “I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him,
I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.
16 “Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”
17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way you should go.
18 “If only you had paid attention to My commandments!
Then your well-being would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 “Your descendants would have been like the sand,
And your offspring like its grains;
Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from My presence.”
20 Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans!
Declare with the sound of joyful shouting, proclaim this,
Send it out to the end of the earth;
Say, “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob.”
21 They did not thirst when He led them through the deserts.
He made the water flow out of the rock for them;
He split the rock and the water gushed forth.
22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
In today’s reading, we can hear God’s heart breaking for His people. Just like a father who has watched his beloved son make poor and ungodly choices over and over again, God laments the choices Israel has determined to make. They have given Him no other option but to punish them with the consequences of their sinful living.
Many of us could say that we are like the nation of Israel from time to time. We too can be stiffed necked and stubborn, painfully choosing to say and do things that are not God’s best for our lives. And just like Israel, we too can find ourselves in captivity in a foreign land because we refused to obey the clear commands of God. Our eyes suddenly open and we hear ourselves say, “How did I get here?”
But thank God, just like Israel we also have experienced the mercy of God. When, because of our disobedience and had no where else to turn, we cried out to God and repented…He answered our call and helped us. Granted, just like we read today, there are often consequences to our sin, but God will strengthen us and carry us through to a new place of victory.
Beloved, God comes to our rescue not simply because He is such a loving Father, but also to show how great and merciful He is. He desires to be known to all those around us that He is good and that His loves endures forever. So when we experience His relentless grace, let us be quick to praise His name and His name alone.