Post # 25 for September 27
Since God created the earth and entire cosmos, doesn’t he have the right to expect obedience? Sin constantly frustrates God’s plan for this earth.
Matthew 13:24-30 tells how God deals with the obedient and the disobedient. The end of the world will not occur until the “full harvest of both sin and righteousness has been reached,” (Oswalt, 286).
Isaiah’s harsh words about judgment pave the way for a message of hope and redemption. Those who are redeemed and delivered rejoice when the Lord keeps his promises and brings about justice. According to 2 Peter 3:9, God wants to redeem and deliver all, “…not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance”(RSV). This three-letter word,“all,” is repeated five times in Isaiah and Ezekiel. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather wants them all to be saved.
The trustworthiness of God is the overarching theme of Isaiah 7-39. “If the nation of unclean lips (cf 6:5) is to bear a message of hope and redemption to the world, then, like the prophet of unclean lips, they must have a revelation of the supremely trustworthy character of God,”(Oswalt, 290). This trustworthiness of God applies to his promises to punish or judge those who refuse to turn to him in trust and accept his provision. It applies as well to God’s promises to redeem those who repent and trust him.
If we do turn to God in repentance and faith, we can feel peace, security and thankfulness because of belonging to God’s kingdom even while, outwardly, we still experience the problems of a sinful world. Isaiah says, “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!” (Isaiah 26:3, LB). This type of trust is a total dependence on the God who has delivered us. If we trust God like this, we will want our lives to mirror his.
Isaiah says the people will sing praise to God “in that day” when Christ establishes his Kingdom on earth. In a spiritual sense, Christ has already established his kingdom in the hearts of his people, but one day he will establish it outwardly, too. In the meantime, we who trust him will choose to “live in the ethical righteousness of the covenant,” (Oswalt, 297). This means we will want to lead pure, blameless lives, be sincere, refuse to slander or gossip or harm another, speak out against sin, commend the faithful, not charge high interest or take bribes, be honest, kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, (Ps. 15:1-5, Ps. 24:3-6, Eph..4:22-32, 1Pet.2:1-3, 1Cor.13:4-7).
Our Creator wants us to function the way we were created to function. If we live the way God intends, we will be a good witness to the world of God’s love. The believer longs not only for God’s presence, but also that God’s name be honored. When God’s character is manifest in a believer’s life, God’s name is honored.
Isaiah uses a picture of a woman in labor. Wouldn’t it be awful, to get to the delivery table and not be able to “bring forth” your child? Maybe Isaiah thought about his own failure to “bring salvation to the earth” or about Israel’s failure to be the blessing she was called to be (or both).
This reminds me of “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord of Hosts,” (Zechariah 4:6, RSV). Our failures might be the result of disobedience, or they might be the result of trying to do God’s will by our own power. Only God can empower us to do what he asks us to do.