God has been giving Judah warning after warning. But they refuse to listen. He calls them a “rebellious people” who will suffer for this sin. Yet, there is still hope!
Yesterday, I realized how hard I have judged Israel and Judah throughout my life. I have read the stories of their repeated rebellion against God, in spite of all He has done for them. As a nation, they have had some SERIOUS problems; in bible times and beyond! IF they had listened to God on any number of the times He spoke to them, their history would have been different.
I also realize that ALL they did was NOT a surprise to God. He had a plan of redemption set up before He even spoke the first words of creation. This plan was created because He KNEW each step man would make once created. Israel’s steps, including their stubborn and rebellious attitudes, were part of His plan. NO. He didn’t make them to rebel. He simply knew that they would. And He also knew that they would take this path in spite of any pleas He made to them. IT DIDN’T STOP HIM FROM REACHING OUT TO THEM. Love ALWAYS gives someone a chance and a choice.
In yesterday’s reading, they were given another warning from God. “Don’t look to Egypt for your protection.” In God’s warning, He even stated that He KNEW they weren’t going to listen. Today, God tells Isaiah to WRITE DOWN THIS WARNING so that someday, they will look back and see where He tried to help them and how they refused to listen. Isaiah did just that. And we are reading it today.
After God ‘blew out His cheeks’ with an exasperated sigh and shook His head in acknowledgement, He spoke a quiet promise. “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (verse 15b). In other words; “You had to do it the hard way. Once you see how this fails, you will get quiet. THEN you will remember Me and all I have done for you in the past. You will repent of your insistence on doing it ‘your way’. THIS is the point where you will finally be ready to trust me. And I WILL save you, again. Because I LOVE you, I’m NOT giving up on you. I’ll be here waiting for that day.”
And what an AMAZING comeback that will be! There have been some steps in this direction, but I don’t think it has happened yet to the degree God promised. Though, because He HAS promised it, it WILL happen!
What I realized is that Israel is an example of a single life. One that starts out as a child, relying on its father’s faith. As this child grows up, it goes through times of testing its limits. It pushes its limits as any teenager would do. It has to find a faith of its own. That only comes through seeing that its Father’s love WON’T be driven away. He offers love, boundaries, discipline, and encouragement throughout its whole life. When that child finally becomes a responsible adult, the Father celebrates. The journey is not over at the age of adulthood. The grown child will learn new lessons of trust as it faces the challenges of adulthood. And it will learn these as it looks back over its life with its loving Father. To the end of its life it will know a True Father’s love. And its Father’s face will shine with each accomplishment of the child. But He will also continue to guide His child to the right paths through encouragement, advice, and natural consequences for life. God is that Father and He will see His child through for life and beyond.
Father God, I pray I make Your face shine! I’m sorry for all the times that I have caused You to shake Your head in dismay at my behavior. I want to make You proud of me Father. THANK YOU for NEVER giving up on me, no matter how difficult I was (am or will be). I PRAY I haven’t put You through as many frustrating moments as You child Israel has (is and will). Help me learn my lessons early and quickly Father. And permanently!