April 02, 2008

When We Lose God's Hand of Blessing

Isaiah 1:4-6

From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness…
Isaiah 1:6


The twelve tribes of Israel had split into two kingdoms, called Israel and Judah. The northern part, Israel, had allied itself with Assyria, which later took Israel over and tried to take Judah as well. Israel was quicker in its rebellion against God than Judah was. Immersed in idolatry, it melted into the paganism of that day.

The Assyrians surrounded the inhabitants of Jerusalem from all directions and caused them a great deal of anxiety and fear. But the kingdom of Judah had kings more faithful to God. Judah was slower to sink as low as Israel in its worship of idols.

The Lord’s hand of blessing and protection had abandoned Israel, but Judah still had an opportunity to repent. The people of Judah were called to learn from the rebellion of Israel. But would they?

History tells us that Judah’s rebellion against God continued and got worse. And yet the Lord did not change. His faithfulness never failed. Though we tend to persist in our self-centeredness and betray our promises, God’s “love endures for ever” (Psalm 107:1).

In our passage for today, Isaiah uses powerful physical imagery to describe moral failure: “beaten,” “injured,” “welts.” But those very words also later describe the suffering servant, the Messiah (Isaiah 53:4-5). By the wounds laid on our Savior, we are healed.

Have mercy on us, gracious Lord, and enable us by your grace to submit to your will as revealed to us in your Word. In our Savior’s name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Victor Atallah

Rev. Victor Atallah is the broadcast team leader for The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry and the general director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. These meditations are based on texts of Arabic broadcasts aired a few years ago and an Arabic commentary on the book of Isaiah prepared for publication. Rev. Atallah and his wife, Lisa, live in Larnaca, Cyprus, where The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry is based. The ministry reaches Arabic-speaking people throughout the Middle East and North Africa, introducing them to Jesus Christ, Savior of the nations.

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