Isaiah chapter thirty contains a stern message from God to a nation consistently at odds with His will. Judah was rebellious, deceitful and unwilling to listen to His instruction (vs. 9). The people told the prophets to stop telling them what was right. They asked them to speak pleasant things and to share illusions (vs. 10). I’m reminded of Paul’s word to Timothy when he foretold a time “For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new” (2 Timothy 4:3).
God warned Judah that her sin would collapse upon her like a high wall falling down (vs. 13). But in verse 15, He stated four keys that would save them. “For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: ‘You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.’” God knew beforehand that they would reject His advice even describing in the next verse their futile means of escape. Incredibly, in verse 18, Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for Him are happy.”
One nation under God continuously sinned against Him, twisting His words, resisting His will, spiting Him in every conceivable fashion. Yet His longing was to be gracious to them. Today, it is the same with us. In a land that races headlong to disprove His existence, to denounce His word, to glorify what is wrong and pronounce as sinister what is right, God longs to be gracious and rises to show us compassion.
The ingredients of graciousness are mercy, kindness and compassion stirred in elegant justice. For reasons of inconceivable love, God’s sense of fairness reaches down to us again and again to draw us to Himself, to give us opportunity to do what is right, to fear Him. Were we gods for a season and treated to the scummy sin that fouls the atmosphere of earth, most of us I dare say, would be more than slightly inclined to call fire from heaven as punishment. God remains gracious. However, one day His patience will reach the line of enough. He will have to judge all who rejected His extended favor. The Bible says “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!”—Hebrews 9:31.
Isn’t it also a tragic thing for us to take God’s graciousness for granted? Psalm 67:1, “May God be gracious to us and bless us; look on us with favor Selah,” ends with a comma. The thought we truncate prematurely is completed in verse two, “so that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” God’s graciousness to His people was meant to accomplish salvation throughout the earth! Now, while His hand of mercy has not yet drawn back, is not the time to seek comfortable lives, to insulate ourselves with religious activity that leaves us too busy to share the truth with those in darkness, or to pretend that life is good when we know so much is not right. To do so would be to miss the whole salvific intent behind God’s graciousness! His cordial treatment of an incorrigible race transformed many of us and with that transformation comes the responsibility that we will reflect His grace. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. It is a self-existent principle inherent in the divine nature and appears to us as a self-caused propensity to pity the wretched, spare the guilty, welcome the outcast, and bring into favor those who were before under just disapprobation. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God's kindness to us in Christ Jesus.—A. W. Tozer
©2005 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)