May 18, 2021
"Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against Whom we have sinned?"
“Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against Whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, nor were they obedient to His Law. Therefore, He has poured out His anger and the strength of His battle; it has set him on fire all around, yet he did not know; and it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.” Isaiah 42:24–25
Isaiah is prophesying about the coming judgment upon Israel and Judah for having abandoned God by turning to idols. The Jewish mindset during the days in which Isaiah prophesied was of the opinion that no matter how great His people sinned, God would not utterly destroy them because of His covenant promise. While that is correct to assume, Israel and Judah had no idea the extent His rebuke was about to take. They could not fathom how small of a remnant He would allow to remain of His people. And they could not imagine that God, Whom they called upon for deliverance, was actually the One who was fighting against them. It would be at His command that foreign armies would destroy Jerusalem, the one city they assumed would stand as “home base”, off-limits to foreign reign.
Why would a loving God do such a thing to His people? Because His grace and mercy only have value when set against the backdrop of His standard, which validates His judgment. But do not assume the Lord has abandoned His people! His rebuke, while strong and determined, is intended to turn His people back to worshipping Him, not to destroy them utterly. If you find yourself under the rebuke of the Lord, it helps to remember that His goal is your repentance. That is and has always been, His goal for Israel AND the Gentiles.
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?" This is the declaration of the Lord God. "Instead, don't I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?” Ezekiel 18:23
“…for at this time, I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may KNOW that there is none like Me in all the earth.” Exodus 9:14
Consider Pharaoh’s response to God’s rebuke in contrast with King David’s. Will you harden your heart or humble yourself and be restored?
“And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants.” Exodus 9:34
“When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore, David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’ And they said, ‘He is dead.’ So David arose from the ground, washed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped.” 2 Samuel 12:19–20a