‘Rescued by Mercy’ is the category of seven blogs I posted in March and April. This is a follow up series about trusting God. The first ‘Trusting God’ blog, entitled “How does God teach his people to trust him” posted last Friday, June 18th.
Ways God teaches Trust
God may teach trust through a difficult experience, as seen in Friday’s blog. A favorite song says, “If I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them,” (You can listen to “Through It All” by Andrae Crouch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvIxwc90BEI ).
God may also teach trust through personal encounters. In the Bible, Isaiah 6 tells of an amazing encounter the prophet Isaiah had. Isaiah saw the LORD of Hosts as he really is, high and lifted up, majestic, honored, and worshiped. His reaction was to say, “Woe is me! For I am lost;” (Isa.6:1-5, RSV). Isaiah was convicted of sin.
Saul of Tarsus had an encounter with God, too. On the way to Damascus, he saw a great light and Jesus Christ appeared to him (Acts 9:1-9). This was a major life-changing experience and Saul became known as Paul the Apostle who wrote much of the New Testament.
Many other encounters with God/Jesus Christ have occurred. Many are seeing Christ in dreams or visions and turning to the Lord, even though they’d never heard of him before.
After Isaiah’s conviction and feelings of despair over his sin, an angel brought a burning coal from the altar, touched his mouth, and told him, “… your guilt is taken away, and your sin is forgiven” (Isa. 6:7). Here we have a foreshadow of “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29), for the burning coal was probably a chunk of charred lamb, according to a commentary by John Oswalt*.
A third way God teaches us to trust him is through scripture. After Isaiah went through this conviction and cleansing, God commissioned him to speak to the nation of Judah. When he did so, Isaiah most likely told about his vision. “Just as he [Isaiah] was enabled to bear God’s message to his people, so by the same process, Israel would be enabled to bear God’s message to the world,”* (Oswalt, p.125). Isaiah wrote his eloquent book telling of God’s mercy and about the Messiah he would send.
We all need to be cleansed by Messiah/Jesus, who died for us, before we can fit into God’s plans for our lives. We learn from Scripture that, just as the burning coal did not destroy Isaiah’s lips but cleansed them, God’s judgment is never meant to destroy but to bring people into right relationships with him. God wants pure vessels he can use.
This was illustrated in the Rescued by Mercy series in some of my previous blogs. Judgment is not meant to destroy but to rescue.
Isaiah became known as the Evangelical Prophet because of his good news that God is merciful. He told Israel God wanted them to return to him, to trust and obey him and fulfill their purpose as his people. God wants this for us, also.
Israel as a nation eventually achieved her purpose: Jesus Christ (God’s Word/message) was born of the Jews about 400 years after Isaiah prophesied of this coming Messiah.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth,” Jn.1:14.
Prayer: Thank you, heavenly Father, for teaching us to trust that you are a merciful God even while you are disciplining us for our rebellion. Thank you for bringing us to conviction and repentance so we could experience your forgiveness and cleansing. Thank you for using our trials to refine and purify us. Please enable us to bear fruit in your Kingdom. We love you. Amen.
*Oswalt, John, The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah; Published by Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003.