The Coming Servant of God, Part 1: Isaiah 42, 43 (6)
Pray Psalm 116.1, 2.
I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
Read Isaiah 43.22-28.
1. If the people weren’t devoting these things to God, as He commanded, what were they doing with them?
2. What were they offering Him instead?
The enormity of God’s grace is magnified against the backdrop of the enormity of His people’s sin. His Law was clear about what God required from His people in the way of sacrifices and offerings. These were instituted to give the people a means of expressing their faith in and love for God, and of helping to keep before them the idea that the grace of God is mediated via sacrifice.
But instead of offering the sacrifices God required, the people of Judah and Jerusalem offered Him a life of increasing transgression (v. 24). We may suppose they consumed what should have been the sacrifices due to the Lord on themselves, just as many people today consume God’s tithe and offer Him a pittance, if at all.
The sacrifices God required of His people were not burdensome (v. 23), but they were necessary. God took their failure in this area as a sign that they were “weary” of Him. Fair enough. He’d send them to someone else to rule over them.
Verses 25-28 remind us of Isaiah 1, when God called His people to reason with Him, promising to make their sins as white as snow. The message of forgiveness and restoration has been constant throughout Isaiah’s work, and here it is again. But before forgiveness and restoration must come curses and reproaches (v. 28).
This could have been avoided if only God’s people would have been faithful in calling on Him (v. 22).
1. God requires tithes and offerings from His people. Why? What do we gain by giving these?
2. God called His people to put Him “in remembrance” (v. 26). What does that mean? How should we practice this today?
3. If you were commanded to state your case before the Lord, seeking acquittal for your transgressions, what would you say?
We are just when we acknowledge that we are sinners, and our justice depends not on our personal merit but rather on the mercy of God, as holy Scripture says: “The just is an accuser of himself in the beginning of his plea.” And in another place, “State your sins, that you may be justified.” Jerome (347-420 AD), Against the Pelagians 1.13
I am a sinner, Lord, and I come to You not to contend, but to confess, that I…
Pray Psalm 116.
As you pray, review the many ways God has been gracious, righteous, and merciful to you. What will you render to Him today?
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 116 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
I love the Lord because He hears my cries and pleas for mercy.
Because He bends to me His ears, my prayers shall ever thus be.
The snares of death encompassed me; hell’s grip could not unloosened be;
Distress and anguish pressed me.
I called to God, “O Lord, I pray, my soul redeem with favor!”
The Lord is gracious in His way, and righteous is our Savior.
His mercy to the simple flies; He lifted me up to the skies –
I rest in Him forever!
Full well the Lord has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
And dwell with them forever.
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
And pay my vows most truly.
How sweet to Him when saints depart – save me, Your servant, Savior!
From sin You loosed my wand’ring heart; I praise Your Name forever!
On You I call, my vows to pay; here in Your presence I would stay
Your praise to offer ever.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).