Tuesday, June 16, 2015


“For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,
And for My praise I will restrain it from you,
So that I do not cut you off.”  (Isaiah 48:9)

The great faithfulness of God is extolled throughout Scripture.  It is a dominant theme in Isaiah 48.  It is particularly amazing when contrasted with the grave unfaithfulness of His people.  The prophet is addressing the nation of Israel—a recalcitrant lot.  He records God’s description of them,

Because I knew that you were obstinate,
And your neck was an iron sinew,
 And your brow bronze…. 
For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,
And were called a transgressor from the womb.  (v.4,8b)

That is an apt description of His people far too often.  We are marked by unfaithfulness also.  Our great comfort is to know that the God of Israel is our God; as He has been true to His Word concerning them, He will honor His name by being faithful to us!

God’s faithfulness is seen in His patience with His unfaithful people (v.1-11).  Israel was treacherous in their conduct, but God is true to His covenant.  This is the manifest patience of God.  The Lord is not through with the Jew.  He still has a plan for the hard-headed and hard-hearted people.  These wayward sons have been disciplined, but not disinherited.  The fires of affliction were not a token of God’s abandonment, but a testimony of His involvement.  The glory of God’s name is forever bound to His faithfulness to those who are identified with Him.  Whatever it takes to turn the rebellious into a faithful people shall be done.  You can count on that!

God’s faithfulness is observed in His preservation of His unfaithful people (v.12-15, 20-22)  The Creator has hung this globe in space and set its course through the stars.  All that He has made provides an environment where His people can prosper.  Before there were lungs to breathe, there was oxygen ordained.  The water was flowing crystal clear to quench thirst before there was a tongue desiring it.  When a stomach was fashioned to hunger, grain, fruit, and vegetables were already flourishing in the garden.  Even when Israel found itself in a desolate wilderness—and that due to their unfaithfulness—God provided for them.  Enemies would hate them and hurt them, instruments of God to break them of their stubborn sinfulness.  God preserved them nonetheless.  How grateful we should be for His faithfulness to preserve us—that none can pluck us from His hand!

God’s faithfulness is bound to His purpose for His unfaithful people (v.16-19).  The waywardness of our steps does not change the path He has set.  We can kick against the goads, like a stubborn ox, but the Almighty is faithful to turn us to His will.  Resistance is futile!  God is the Redeemer.  He purchases those who are enslaved by fetters of sin—shackles of their own making.  He is Holy, and will make us holy as a Potter shaping the clay.  Israel’s unfaithfulness meant they were besieged with war when God would have given them peace.  The nation could have prospered through submission, but suffered loss from their rebellion.  Still, God’s purpose is unalterable.  We dare not think our unfaithfulness is of no consequence.  Defiance brings discipline.  What we can rejoice in is that God is faithful even to afflict us—that His correction is for our ultimate good.

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