Singing “I stand amazed”.
“Are you truly amazed? Are you truly in awe? Do you really drink in who I am, that My ways are infinitely higher than your ways, that My words are infinitely higher than yours? Do you understand the vastness of My presence, like the waters cover the sea? The whole world in My hands? Do you understand My power, My ability to do anything I choose to do? Mankind managed to split an atom and 100 000 people were killed. But I split whole suns, whole constellations. Stand truly amazed, because even as amazing as all that is, the most amazing thing, the most wonderful thing of all was the death of my Son on the cross. That act transformed the whole of history and it was done as much for you as for anyone else. Yes, ponder and absorb and stand amazed”.
I am looking today at the rest of Isaiah ch 9 and ch 10. Seen in the context of the Son who is prophesied to be born because of the darkness, gloom and distress in Israel/Judah. The surprising thing is that the prophecy reverts again to God’s judgement, chiefly of Israel and Judah. Yes Assyria is going to be God’s vehicle of destruction, but it will be initiated by Him cf 10:13, 23!
There is an interesting twist to this judgement of God in 10:5 ff. Despite the fact that God specifically chose Assyria to be His “rod of anger”, He will judge Assyria even more severely for carrying His judgement out. cf 10:5 ff. Mmmm seems a bit unfair doesn’t it? Unless one understands that He wants to make the point that despite their waywardness, Israel still had a special place in His heart.
Now a couple of things stand out. Even as God declares the litany of Israel’s sins, I have looked to see what the basic underlying sin was. The fundamental sin from which all these sins arose. We can see the answer in 9:9, 10. The people wanted to go it on their own. They were boasting of what they had done and would do, without any reference to God. That was the basic sin of Adam, it was the basic sin of Israel and Judah. It is still the basic sin today. While we look at all the awful things mentioned and shake our heads, we ourselves, may be going ahead and taking pride in what we are doing every day, not recognizing God’s hand in every aspect of our lives. In all of our creative thinking. Not relying on Him completely.
The good news is that God has decreed that there will be a remnant. 10:20. Now look how they are described in that vs “They will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel”. The aim of God in developing a remnant was to establish a people, for Himself that would “truly rely on Him”. As I have said before, that theme of the remnant, will continue to be developed in Isaiah. The very next chapter (11), will again give us a clue how it was going to arise.
Something else of significance comes out in this section: Four times the statement “yet for all this, His anger is not turned away” 9:12b; 17c; 21c; 10:4b., is repeated. Do you know why that is so significant? It is significant because it points directly to Jesus and the work He did on the cross. Look at Romans 3:25 and look at the note in the margin of your NIV bible. The word translated as “a sacrifice of atonement” is actually a “propitiation”. This is a unique word used for Christ’s ministry and means that through His death on the cross He “turned away the wrath of God”. So what God was seeking in Isaiah’s time, was someone to turn His wrath away from His people. He Himself, would eventually supply that someone many years later when Israel had born the brunt of God’s wrath. This is how a Remnant would be formed. One that would truly rely on God.
Stop and think about that. God’s wrath remains the same today as it was then, against all sin. Which, as we have seen, arises from Man’s basic desire to be like God and to act independently from Him. For man to seek his own glory, like the Tower of Babel. It is only as we flee to Jesus that we can be protected from that wrath, as He turns it away from us.
Do you hear Jesus speaking to you? Do you stand amazed at His presence? How do you respond to what you have read today? God bless all of you.