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Isaiah 11 ends with a prophecy of God’s people returning from exile. Isaiah 13 begins a series of announcements of God’s judgment on the nations.
Between these two difficult thoughts is nothing less than a beautiful song of trust.
Isaiah prophesies a day when the people of God will sing together this song.
You will say in that day:
I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
and you comforted me. (Isaiah 12.1)
People will praise God because his anger has been turned into comfort. What makes God angry?
(1) God is angry at anything that draws people away from a relationship with him.
He is not an ego-starved deity who craves the adoration of fans. He is a loving Father, who knows how a personal relationship with him will benefit his beloved people.
Anything that disturbs that relationship draws his wrath.
(2) God is angry at the actions of the powerful that harm the vulnerable.
God’s care for the vulnerable is a consistent theme that spans the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God’s people are called to imitate his concern for the orphan, the widow, the poor, and the immigrant.
When God’s people take advantage of their power over the weak, he rises in judgment.
Both a lack of a genuine relationship with God and oppression of others attracted God’s anger toward his very own people. Something had to happen to turn God’s anger into comfort.
When we study Isaiah 40-55 we will see the means God planned to use to turn away his anger.
We also can recall Jesus’ words that summarize God’s solution to our rebellion and sin: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23.34).
** God is Our Salvation
The prophecy of Isaiah is that “on that day” we will declare that God is our Savior.
Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12.2)
“God is my salvation” is the declaration that there is no salvation apart from God.
Most modern readers will think of their salvation that was granted through the ministry of Jesus Christ. The salvation of the individual is a tremendous blessing, but there is more to the message in this verse.
In Isaiah’s day, the people were threatened by superpowers who sought to conquer and colonize them. While they had a form of religion, they trusted alliances with other countries instead of God for their protection.
When Judah (the Southern Kingdom) joined other nations against their enemies, they were also required to accept the gods of those nations.
Isaiah’s word to them was that “on that day” they would fully trust in God, not other nations and their idols.
This is an important message for America. We tend to compartmentalize God and place him in a religious box, while we rely on our bank accounts, employment, and leaders for security.
“God is my salvation” applies to all aspects of life, not just the religious realm.
A Call to Praise
God’s people in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) were expected to be a witness to the world. They were to show the nations who God is and how to trust him.
Instead of being a witness, they turned to the nations and their idols for security.
Isaiah prophesied a day when God’s joyful people would lead the way for the nations to praise and exercise faith in the One True God.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 12.3-6)
God’s name refers to his character and nature. It is the responsibility of people who know God to reveal his character and nature.
Praise, worship, and gratitude take our attention off of ourselves and put it on God. When we are focused on our needs, we tend to make God a “tool” to help us get what we want.
When we encounter God in praise and thanksgiving, our attention and our trust are placed in God. The more we trust God, the more he can shine through our lives and reveal his character.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
I am indebted to a book by Dr. John Oswalt on Isaiah for his insights into this powerful book.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.