Blog 25: Isaiah 63

The final Act – when God is our enemy!

 Sunday 21 April 2013 11.00am

The latter half of chapter 63[1] is in the form of a priestly sermon. The preacher recalls God’s rescue of his people in times past[2] and how even then in the midst of God’s salvation the people rebelled and turned their back on their Saviour – and so God became their enemy!

This sermon and the prayer that follows in chapter 64 are typical of the style of Deuteronomy but they are full of the language of the Isaianic Vision, in particular the references to ‘his Holy Spirit’

The sermon is a salutary reminder, sandwiched between chapters of God’s promises for the (new) Jerusalem and the (new) people of God, that God is not to be taken lightly but to be held in awe. The very one who is our Saviour can and will be our enemy when we turn from him.

God will be our enemy if:

    1. We treat him as a salvation resource. If we ignore him, apart from tapping in when in trouble, seeking forgiveness when guilt overwhelms us, bringing worship when we need a spiritual high but refusing to live under his Lordship.
    2. We try to limit his salvation to us and our sort – refusing the breadth of the vision that is the vastness of God’s mercy so ably depicted in the previous chapters.
    3. We try to blame him for our bad behaviour[3], claiming that since he is sovereign then he must have made us do it!! This distortion of God’s sovereignty is not absent even in today’s world. How could a loving God allow…
    4. We hold him responsible for the shambles of society that are the results of our neglect of his rule and the selfishness of humanity.

Our prayer and our lives must be ‘ Your will be done, O Lord.’

[1] From verse 7

[2] the language and metaphors are from the Exodus/Sinai times

[3] See verse 17