Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 63

I find it interesting that both redemption and vengeance come at the same time in this chapter. It makes sense when you think about it. In completely black and white terms, you are either for God, or against Him. Either you have asked God into your heart, or you have not. If you haven’t, you are going against His will. There is no middle ground here. That is why both redemption and vengeance come at the same time. When that time comes, you will be on one side or the other. That is why it is the most important decision you can make.

2 Why are your garments red,
like those of one treading the winepress?
3 "I have trodden the winepress alone;

from the nations no one was with me.
I trampled them in my anger
and trod them down in my wrath;
their blood spattered my garments,
and I stained all my clothing.
4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart,

and the year of my redemption has come.
5 I looked, but there was no one to help,

I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm worked salvation for me,
and my own wrath sustained me.
6 I trampled the nations in my anger;

in my wrath I made them drunk
and poured their blood on the ground." – Isaiah 63:2-6

I hate to belabor the point, but God is clearly stating here once again that we cannot save ourselves. He did not say that we worked salvation for ourselves. He did not say that it was ours to judge the other nations, either. Ultimately, the power to do so lies in the hands of God and God alone. This not some Jonathan Edwards commentary about sinners being in the hands of an angry God. It is quite the opposite. God despises our sin, but as we have seen through previous chapters and as is outlined in previous promises, we know that God loves us. He provides a way to avoid this anger through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.

8 He said, "Surely they are my people,
sons who will not be false to me";
and so he became their Savior.
9 In all their distress he too was distressed,

and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
10 Yet they rebelled

and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them. – Isaiah 63:8-10

I love this picture of both God’s love and his grief during judgment. When we rebelled against God it hurts Him simply because of His deep, abiding love. He wants everyone to come through that open door of salvation, but He is at the same time saddened because there will always be those who rebel against Him. To me, this makes God more personal because He is such an emotional God. He is not impartial, just toying with at a whim. His nature is to love and He illustrates that love throughout the Bible. He also illustrates that love throughout our lives when He continually welcomes us back even though our nature is to screw things up. His grace is infinite, and His love is ultimately patient.


1. How do you illustrate God’s love?
2. Why is it our nature to fail?
3. Is it possible to deny God until it is too late, yet still live?

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