Isaiah 63 began with a prophecy of the Second Coming. As the chapter continues, Isaiah reminds his people how God led them in the past by his Spirit. Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. In a time of sorrow and affliction, Isaiah beseeches God to have mercy and consider that they are still his people.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
8 For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
It never ceases to amaze me how contemporary a 2700-year-old Book can be. God sent the Redeemer to Israel, but they rebelled against Him. Therefore, they had to suffer his judgment; yet the worst is yet to come.
11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?
12 That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?
13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?
14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.
15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?
16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.
As I read this passage I have a tendency to think Isaiah was merely recounting their history up to his time. That is certainly part of Chapter 63, but verse 18 reminds us that Isaiah the prophet is making a prophecy for the future. The sanctuary would not be trodden down for more than a century.
19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
As Isaiah 63 ends you can hear the hurt and dismay in the prophet’s voice. Why are the heathen dominating God’s people? Assyria had wiped out the entire nation save the city of Jerusalem. In the not-too-distant future Jerusalem would be destroyed as well. Later, when it was time to rebuild, the prophet Zechariah wrote that God spoke to him and said, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. If you are anxious about the future or worried about the present, consider what the Spirit is saying through his prophets. First Isaiah told Israel that the day of judgment is approaching, but then he reminded them that God had led them through trials in the past. He reminded them that God corrects his people when He has to. His Spirit guides and prepares us to be what He created us to be. If you have been walking with the Lord as long as I have, I am sure you can look back and recall times when you felt uneasy or uncertain about the future. God got you through those trials and He will get you through the trails of the pandemic as well. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
What if you don’t feel you need any help from the Spirit of God? Maybe you have enough money in the bank and the shutdown has not affected you. I distinctly recall when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. I recall the realization that we were living in a time of tremendous change. A few years later apartheid ended in South Africa. Computers were revolutionizing the way we worked and lived. I remember thinking that moving forward, change would be the only thing that remained consistent. And so it is. As the changes continue to come they seem to be increasing in magnitude, if not frequency. It’s like we are all on a runaway train. The throttle control is set to high and the lever is busted off, the brakes are out, and the end of the line is getting closer and closer. Luckily, we have an escape mechanism. If we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we will be snatched away before the train wreck of the great tribulation period. Israel is destined to return to their Messiah. Many of them already have. For those who put it off too long, whether Jew or Gentile, the great tribulation period is going to make the coronavirus pandemic look like a day at the beach.
Father, your word says You have not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Please turn us all back to your Son that we may face the future with courage, with wisdom, and with your Spirit to guide us. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.