Concerning Babylon: Isaiah 46-48 (4)
Pray Psalm 33.1-5.
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
Read Isaiah 48.1-11.
1. God charges His people with having profaned His Name. How did they do that?
2. Why does God defer His anger and restrain Himself from destroying His people?
In essence, God’s charge against His people was that they didn’t take His Word as seriously as He did. They claimed to know Him; they even swore by His Name (v. 1), but not according to truth, and not in the righteousness He required. The leaned on God – that is, they looked to Him for help and for their daily provision – but they were merely using Him, and not honoring Him for His greatness and love (v. 2).
God had spoken to them clearly about what He would do, so that, when it came to pass, they would have confidence in Him and all His Word (v. 3). But they were stiff-necked, and they credited their idols with the blessings God provided (vv. 4, 5). They knew what God had spoken, and they knew what they were doing as they continued in their idolatry. God had spoken many mysteries to them, promises and truths reserved for later days, but they would not listen. They closed their ears to His promises and clung to their idols (vv. 6-8).
Is it any wonder God was angry with them? But He would not let His anger go full circle. For the praise of His Name and the glory of His Word, God would restrain His anger, limiting His judgment against Judah and Jerusalem to 70 years’ captivity in Babylon. He would not cut them off, but would use this time to refine His people, and prepare them for the greater mysteries of salvation yet to come (vv. 9-11).
1. Throughout the Scriptures, we see God’s Word declared to His people, then fulfilled. Can you give some examples?
2. Much of what God has declared in His Word has not yet been fulfilled. Can you give some examples of that?
3. God expects us to trust His Word, to “lean” on Him and wait for Him to fulfill all that He has spoken. What does this require of us as His people today?
“I have restrained my wrath for the sake of my name,” and I will establish my glorious deeds over you lest you be destroyed.… We see in this the greatness of God’s love; he mixes in with unhappy events glorious things lest they be totally destroyed. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444 AD), Commentary on Isaiah 188.8.131.52-11
Lead me by Your promises today, O Lord, especially that I might…
Pray Psalm 33.
Praise God for what He has done in the past, just as He said in His Word. And seek His mercy and grace for whatever your needs may be today.
Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 33 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!
Joyfully shout! His Word is true; He does His work in faithfulness.
His love prevails the whole world through; the Lord loves truth and righteousness.
God spoke and heaven came to be, and all its hosts His Spirit wrought.
He heaps the waters of the sea; the deeps their dwelling place are taught.
Let all below now fear the Lord; let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by Jesus’ Word; let all on earth in Him confide.
He nullifies the nations’ plans; forever stands His sov’reign Word.
All they are blessed who with Him stand – the chosen people of the Lord.
God from His throne looks down on men; He knows our works and made our hearts.
Let not Your Church, let none depend on strength or skill or human arts.
God watches those who fear His Name, who hope upon His grace and love;
He keeps their souls from death and shame who trust in Him Who reigns above.
God is our Helper and our Shield; upon us let Your grace descend!
We hope in You; to You we yield; we trust in Jesus to the end.
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).