Rebels and Servants: God’s Response

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

From beginning to the end, Isaiah is a message of salvation and judgment. Salvation is for people who will humbly trust God, but judgment is reserved for those who live in prideful self-sufficiency.

God delivers people on his terms, not ours. We can’t manipulate God to get what we want. That is the root issue of what takes place in idol worship.

God is the One True God and we must relate to him with humble trust.

I Was Ready

Everyone who reads the first words of Isaiah 65 should be in awe of God’s greatness. The Greatest Being of All assumes the humble role of someone who reaches out to people.

I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that did not call on my name.

I held out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;

A people who provoke me
to my face continually . . .
(Isaiah 65.1-3)

This is amazing love. God gives himself to anyone who is willing to respond to his call. He has gone beyond calling and extends his hand to grasp our hands in friendship and love.

The sad truth is that God is ready to help us, but people do not want to walk in the ways of God.

— The Greatest Personality of All is willing to be our friend, but we say no.

— The Ultimate Counselor is willing to give us direction for life, but we keep on with the same thinking that has given us trouble all along.

— The Lover of All desires a love-relationship with us and we turn to our back to him.

John Calvin taught that superstitions result from the delight of humans in their own inventions. When we refuse to surrender our ways and thoughts for God’s ways and thoughts, the result is idol worship (substitutes for God).

Spiritual pride is aptly pictured in verse 5. The prideful say,

“Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I
am too holy for you.” (Isaiah 65.5)

The same people, who are rebellious and who serve substitutes for God have been invented in the mind, are blind to their spiritual condition.

They point the finger of judgment at others and refuse to associate with them, believing that they are more holy.

I am sure that I have my share of spiritual pride. So as one sinner to another let me say that our proper response to God is humble trust and a sincere relationship.

We must avoid prideful self-assertion and learn humble trust in God.

Salvation and Judgment

At the very beginning of his book, Isaiah summarized his message.

If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;

But if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be devoured by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
(Isaiah 1.19-20)

This theme has been repeated multiple times in the book in many different ways. One major goal of the book was to exhort the people to a willing and obedient trust in God.

For the people who refused to follow God, judgment was prophesied.

At the end of his book, Isaiah highlights this message once again.

Therefore thus says the Lord God:
My servants shall eat,
but you shall be hungry;
my servants shall drink,
but you shall be thirsty;
my servants shall rejoice,
but you shall be put to shame;

My servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
but you shall cry out for pain of heart,
and shall wail for anguish of spirit.
(Isaiah 65.13-14)

These words were written roughly 2700 years ago and they are still relevant today.

If we live in willingness with regard to God’s guidance, instead of willful self-serving behavior, we will experience God’s best.

The best that God has for us is a relationship with him. No matter what other things we desire, the greatest gift of all from God is a personal friendship with him.

If we rebel in willfulness, we will automatically cut ourselves off from God’s provisions. Our behavior will keep God’s blessings at arm’s length and the result will be judgment.

I hope you are like me and have been challenged by Isaiah to renew your relationship with the Lord. He is truly amazing and completely worthy of our love, trust and devotion.

About This Blog

Rudy Ross has some excellent insights on these verses. I have interviewed him on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

I am indebted to John Oswalt for his excellent commentaries on Isaiah. He works have informed my writing.

Please email me your prayer request at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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