Isaiah 57:14-21 (New International Version)
Comfort for the Contrite
14 And it will be said:
"Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."
15 For this is what the high and lofty One says
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 I will not accuse forever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me
the breath of man that I have created.
17 I was enraged by his sinful greed;
I punished him, and hid my face in anger,
yet he kept on in his willful ways.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
19 creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,"
says the LORD. "And I will heal them."
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
21 "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."
I have been doing some meditating on grace as I've been reading through Isaiah recently. It really is quite mind blowing.... take this passage for instance:
You have this Holy, high and lofty God who lives forever who is enraged by mankinds' sinful greed and who punishes said mainkind and hides His face in anger. How does this mankind respond?...I mean... he's seems to be in serious trouble here... surely he'll do something to turn around, to save himself... surely?.... but no.... 'He keeps on in his willful ways'.
ouch that's scary.
How does this Holy, high and lofty God who lives forever respond?
He starts with, "I've seen his ways".... oh dear, He's noticed. Our sinful greed has not escaped His attention so what's He going to do?
"I have seen his ways, but I will heal him".
Duck! Cover! Prepare for judgment!.... wait!... what sorry?.... did You say "heal him"? /looks perplexed :S
Yes boys, you heard it.... "heal him". God declares that He will take the obstacles out of the way of His people.
This passage shows that there are two types of ways to respond to this grace.... the humble way and the proud way.
We see these ways illustrated in children.... especially boys, so we can relate to this.
We all know the kind of boy who is compliant and loving and generally willing to be lead by a caring adult. Sure he's not a perfect angel but at the end of the day he knows he's loved and will cooperate with his carers and seek to be pleasing to them.
Then there's that other kind. The one that's never grateful, is obstinate, rude, self-seeking and unwilling to cooperate. He won't listen to instruction and he justifies everything evil thing he does.
God's yfs are of the former kind... the contrite and lowly in spirit.
They .... err... we... will receive comfort and guidance and healing... peace in our relationship with the Holy, high and lofty one who lives forever. Overwhelmingly AMAZING.... but TRUE :D
For the proud... those who love their wickedness.... for them there is no peace.... scary stuff. /trembles.
Father, Holy, high and lofty one who lives forever, how can we comprehend the mercy you extend to us sinners that You would even give Your own son to redeem us. You gave Jesus so that the obstacles that separated us from You would be taken out of the way. Honestly this is too wonderful for me to comprehend or appreciate but right now I'm feeling pretty grateful :D