Isaiah Day 147 - Talk About It. Sing About It. Proclaim It!
17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”
20 Go forth from Babylon!
Flee from the Chaldeans!
With a voice of singing,
Declare, proclaim this,
Utter it to the end of the earth;
Say, “The Lord has redeemed
His servant Jacob!”
21 And they did not thirst
When He led them through the deserts;
He caused the waters to flow from the rock for them;
He also split the rock, and the waters gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
If I went out and laid down on the highway in front of my home every night the chances are high that I would be seriously injured or killed. To intentionally live outside the counsel of God it will only hurt me sooner or later. There is no peace outside His Word. His laws are not arbitrary. Even those that seem so wouldn't seem so if we understood the setting in which they were given.
As we have clearly seen Judah was in a mess, a mess of their own making and predictably they had no peace. There is another kind of suffering though. Not all suffering is self-inflicted. God hints at that reality here in Isaiah 48 even though it is subtle. He tells Judah to proclaim how God gave them water in the desert, how He split the rock and water gushed out. That event was long before their time. It happened to their ancestors after they fled from slavery in Egypt.
Why bring it up? A few reasons:
1. The slavery they were escaping was not self-inflicted. It wasn't caused by their own bad choices or wickedness.
2. The people that were going to escape Babylonian tyranny and return to Jerusalem to rebuild would not be those directly responsible for their captivity. It would be a future generation suffering under the bad choices and consequences created by their ancestors.
3. To have the courage to return and rebuild they would need faith in a God their ancestors abandoned but who never abandoned them. They would need to remember the things He had done in the past so they would have courage to face their own future.
4. God is not just our God. He is timeless. He is the God of an ancient past we never experienced and a glorious future we can't even imagine. If we don't hold to both those unseen realities we will give up in the present.
5. Remember Rahab, the prostitute in Jericho who his the spies and chose to become part of God's people? She recited to those spies all the miracles God had performed for Israel and they all happened before she was born! Is it possible that others watching our journey with God are more aware of His goodness to us than we are?
6. There is no permanent peace to be found in the circumstances of this life even if we are trying our best to follow His counsel. Jesus was perfect and He was dogged at every step. However He slept through life threatening storms because He had a peace that transcended present circumstances. He passed through crowds seeking His life because He was unafraid. He knew His life and ultimately His death were all in His Father's hands. The same Father who split the rock in the barren wilderness so thousands upon thousands of fleeing slaves could drink and live.
7. Because He wants to provide for us in our unique places of need. We don't know what the future holds but we can know the One who will carry us through it.