After reading yesterday’s post by Greg, I had to do a little revising. I have been feeling such similar things recently. Am I doing enough? What really is enough? The Lord doesn’t measure our salvation based on enough because it’s never enough. What we call a free gift isn’t free if we have to do something to earn it or keep it. The free gift we Christians talk about is called grace and without it we don’t even have the faintest inkling of God’s plan. By His grace we can come to faith in Christ Jesus and receive salvation.
What strikes me about these passages is a reminder that faith was God’s plan from the beginning. I always thought of God’s word as before and after, law and faith, old and new. But really, it was faith all along. Throughout the pages of the bible we read the story of a people that believed, followed, failed, turned away, repented, believed, followed, failed, turned away and so on and so on in a constant and continuous cycle. The Old Testament prophets like Isaiah had a tough job; to bring the message to the unrepentant hearts in hopes of them turning back to the Lord. The amazing thing to me is that the Lord continued, over and over again to show them his kindness and grace. He allowed them to return if their hearts would soften.
I think of the world that we live in today and the cycles and patterns we fall into. We are not a little like the Israelites stuck in this cycle, we are exactly the like the Israelites. They worshiped idols, we worship idols. They wanted independence from God, we scream we want dependence but do everything we desire instead of what God calls. In so many ways we parallel the nation of Israel because we are all human. God’s plan from the beginning was not about works but His grace. So the exciting news is that despite the sin and the patterns and cycles that remain even to this day, He will be returning. He is mighty to save!
“Who is this who comes from Edom,
in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.” Isaiah 63:1
I am so often disheartened by the world around me, by current events and most importantly by my own sin. I become frustrated with myself, my actions and my thoughts knowing they are often not pleasing to the Lord. We live in a society that measures success by how much is done. After reading of the rebellion and unrepentant hearts, we read about the Lord’s kindness. His vengeance on evil, making everything right again. We read of his return and his steadfast love.
“I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,
the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord has granted us,
and the great goodness to the house of Israel
that he has granted them according to his compassion,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
For he said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will not deal falsely.”
And he became their Savior.
In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:7-9
Thank you, Lord for your steadfast love is never ending. For your mercies that are new each and every morning and for creating a plan that has stretched from the beginning to the end of time; a plan of rescue and redemption through no part of our own. You are amazing, God!
From the archives. Originally published September 16, 2015.