We just wrapped up Isaiah in our bible plan. I am growing to appreciate this book more and more each time I read it. The first few times, I was struck by the similarities I saw between the unbelieving chosen nation (and other nations) and that of our current world. In fact, it seems that he is talking specifically about the United States with regard to our disobedience to God. Isaiah doesn’t give a list of specific charges. Everything is in generalities. Who is to say that we aren’t way WORSE than everyone at that time? Maybe we are. We don’t think so, do we? We think we have come a long way since those times. We think because we have technology that our thinking is better; and because our thinking is better, so is our morality.
But is it? One could say that we don’t make altars to worship idols, but I would disagree. When we consider how far mainstream denominations have intentionally departed from biblical truth, it is very difficult to argue that they haven’t abandoned the one true and living God in favor of a god of their own making. No, we don’t see big statues that we bow down to, like Nebuchadnezzar, but we do worship at altars to gods we designed. I take that back, we DO see lots of praying to statues and dead people.
One practice that God seems to be particularly sickened by is child sacrifice. How can we claim clean hands at that? We may say we don’t have ceremonies in the abortionist room, but we do have HUGE rallies supporting the right of women to have abortions. These are incredible, multi-day gatherings of people from all over the country to celebrate and to protest anyone who might deny their right to kill a baby. Last count I’ve read was 60,000,000 dead babies in the US alone since the passage of Roe v. Wade. How can that possibly go unnoticed by God? It isn’t.
But the thing that is really coming out to me these last few readings of Isaiah is the hope it gives. Yes, God will ensure justice, but he also has mercy. He doesn’t have mercy on all, but some. We like to think he will have mercy on all, but he doesn’t. The incredible thing is that he has mercy on ANYONE! Think about that. None of us deserve mercy. Google defines mercy as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” A synonym is grace which is defined for our purposes as “the free and unmerited favor of God.” Honest reflection will reveal that none of us deserve grace, even though we might like to think so. Further, if God was obligated to extend grace, then it would no longer be grace. Can you see that?
Yet, God of his own accord grants some mercy. Why? I see a theme throughout the bible that maybe we can get a taste of here:
Isaiah 48:9-11 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
“For my name’s sake.” That’s important. Remember Moses using that?
Father, thank you for your mercy. I am still dumbfounded why you forgave me. Truly. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers