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When God Steps In
Reading the Bible through this year.
“Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you…” Isaiah 59.1 (NLT)
There have been a few times in my life when I’ve needed God to step in and save me from something. What about you? And while there have been plenty of situations where my family prayed for a financial or health miracle from the Lord, I am primarily thinking of moments when I had grieved God’s heart.
This may have been due to behavior, disobedience, who I was spending time with, all the above, and more. Though God never stopped loving me, I have surely given Him reasons for displeasure.
Students of God’s word are familiar with how the Israelite people grieved Him. The vicious cycle of their disobedience, repentance, and we promise it will not happen again tested God’s faithfulness, over and over.
The prophet Isaiah received God’s call, and made it his life’s mission, to deliver this message to the people: Repent and come back to the Lord!
Isaiah’s words reached a fever-pitched tone in this fifty-ninth chapter. “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God,” he says (vs. 2).
They needed someone to step in and save them—from themselves and their sin.
The prophet delivered the words of the Lord using specific language describing their behavior. We could say the same about the majority of Isaiah, and the writings of other Old Testament prophets, as well.
We have turned our backs on our God… Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. (Isa. 59.13b, 14b, 15a)
How is it possible these ancient words sound like someone wrote them last week?
The only way to explain it is to acknowledge that God’s creation continues to be disobedient to His precepts and commands.
There are three primary themes in Isaiah, all of which show up in this chapter.
God’s judgement of sin.
Hope in the Lord.
The Messiah, who will save and redeem.
So, he himself stepped in to save them…with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him. (Isa. 59.16b)
Friend, what does this make you think of? My mind cannot help but remember the times when God stepped in for me—times when I did not deserve it, but He did it anyway. Grace reached down and rescued me.
As Isaiah prophesied long ago, “He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion (Isa. 59.17).”
The prophet’s words have now turned to predictions of the Messiah, who would come to save and redeem.
Hope, in the person of Jesus, would step in for all humanity, bringing righteousness, salvation, and justice for those who turn to Him.
Isaiah’s audience did not understand it all, but we are living on the other side. We know the rest of the story. You and I can see the big picture written on the pages of our Bible.
And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins. Romans 11.27