Today: [Isaiah 63] The Need of a Savior. In this chapter, we find the fury of God poured out upon a disobedient people. In the midst of this there is mention of the mercy and pity of God that is available, but unappropriated because man chooses his own way in lieu of submitting to the Father’s origination of salvation through the cross. Why did (why does) God judge? Is He a megalomaniacal despot gleefully raining consequences down upon defenseless men who cannot escape? Is God insane? Modern thinking would suggest that this would be the case, therefore rejects the existence of God altogether, leaving those who do believe in God to puzzle out the realities of God’s mutually existent judgment and mercy and what they mean to us in the world that we live in today.
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[Isa 63:1-19 KJV] 1 Who [is] this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this [that is] glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people [there was] none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. 5 And I looked, and [there was] none to help; and I wondered that [there was] none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth. 7 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, [and] the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. 8 For he said, Surely they [are] my people, children [that] will not lie: so he was their Saviour.
In this chapter we find Isaiah speaking against Edom and again the backslidden nature of His people. He begins with a threat of judgment against Edom. When we read these graphic depictions of judgment and violence by the Lord’s hand we have to remember we are reading an Old Covenant document. What are the implications of this? There is no mediator between man and his sin. The only remediation for man to address the enmity between him and God is 1.) to be born Jewish; and 2.) to adhere fully to the law of Moses. When we read of the brutal judgments and the fury of God we must do so bearing in mind the overarching purpose of the law. That purpose is succinctly expressed by Paul in Galatians:
[Gal 3:21-25 KJV] 21 [Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
In other words, God gave the law and imposed it upon man in order to impress upon all humanity the need for a savior. Man’s response to the law (whether the law of God found in the word or written upon his own conscience) is to either repent or to rebel. Why does God feel the need to make man subject to the law for any purpose whatsoever? Isn’t that megalomaniacal of God to sit on the throne and demand that we love and serve Him? This is the logic, the perverse logic of human nature that in our day defers to know higher authority that personal choice laid on the altar of intransigent individualism. The law was given because in the fall, Adam succumbs to the temptation that he can be like God, INDEPENDENT of God. What is God’s response to this? His response is to honor free will. Because man chooses to detach from God and accept the serpent’s offer then God expels him from the garden to give man exactly what he has decidedly chosen. You see the scripture tells us in 1 Tim. 2:19 that Eve was actually deceived by the serpent but Adam was not. Adam knew EXACTLY what he was doing and what the stakes would be. Adam was convinced that he could be LIKE God INDEPENDENT of God and was willing to take the risk of plunging all humanity into the dire outcome of being subject to death, hell and the grave in the gambit.
Thus to honor free will, and not merely to altar man’s nature and turn him into an automaton, it was necessary for God to allow the consequences of man’s choice to play out. Thus, the expulsion from the garden and the results thereof. Then God, not willing to make that the end of the matter, follows up and gives man the opportunity to exhaust his lust to be like God independent of God by saying through Moses – “here is my perfect law” so that man might have an arbitrary standard by which to prove just how perfect he could be without God’s help. Then inherent in that law were blood sacrifices to address every point where man would fail. God always redresses man’s failure through shed blood as He did in the very beginning when He made coats of skins to clothe man’s resulting nakedness because of disobedience. Having given the shedding of blood then God must reject every other demand of man to be accepted or left to his own deserts on any other basis. Thus from the rejection of Cain’s sacrifice right down to every attempt of man to ignore God he is met with consequences of punishment and judgment to confront him with his own disobedience and the need for the efficacy of shed blood, ultimately the blood of Jesus to ameliorate the sin condition.
9 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; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] he fought against them. 11 Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, [and] his people, [saying], Where [is] he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where [is] he that put his holy Spirit within him? 12 That led [them] by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? 13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, [that] they should not stumble? 14 As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. 15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where [is] thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? 16 Doubtless thou [art] our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, [art] our father, our redeemer; thy name [is] from everlasting. 17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, [and] hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. 18 The people of thy holiness have possessed [it] but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. 19 We are [thine]: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.
Notice what verse 9 says: “in their affliction, he was afflicted…” This is a Messianic portent. Heb. 4:15 tells us that Jesus came as the perfect and final sacrifice for sin but first was afflicted in a human condition in all points such as we are afflicted and tempt by inherent, inborn sin. Jesus was afflicted and endured the human condition and then sent us the angel of His presence to save us because of His love and pity whereby He is motivated to redeem us from the consequences of Adam’s choice whose characteristics of sin, selfishness and inbred wickedness are the infection every human being from Cain to the last baby just born into the world are burdened with. This is the salvation that Jesus came and made available to us. What happens however when we rebel and as v. 10 says we vex His Holy Spirit? Verse 11 says that God then remembers the day of Moses. In other words when we reject Christ, either outright or by the inference of the personal choices we make in life then we are turned out from the efficacy and amelioration of the shed blood of Christ and once more made subject to the law. The law never passes away. At every point our lives deviate from submission to the Lordship of Christ we are then confronted with the implications of that choice and the law that overrides us either the law of Moses in God’s word or the law written on our conscience that condemns us for our imperfections and inability to be like God independent of God and reminding us as the good schoolmaster that we need a savior. The judgments, the brutal judgments inherent in that sinful choice are not a reflection of God’s austerity toward the sinner but of His integrity to honor that choice that even a sinful man makes to leave him to the consequences of life outside of Christ, being made subject to the law only for the purposes of hopefully bringing man to the place where he falls at the foot of the cross and declares in exhaustion that he needs a savior.
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