[CF Devotionals] 2010-02-10 - Mercy in Judgment

Isaiah 16:5, 6 “A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, and a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; moreover, he will seek justice and be prompted in righteousness. We have heard of the pride of Moab, an excessive pride - even of his arrogance, pride, and fury. His idle boasts are false.”

God speaks in Isaiah 15, 16 about the judgment and overthrow of Moab. They have offended the Living God by oppressing His people. In Isaiah 16:1-5, the Moabites are admonished to be kind to the Israelites, but they are not. Their judgment is seen in 16:12-14. One noticeable judgment given is in verse 12, “So it will come about when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself upon his high palace, and comes to his sanctuary to pray, that he will not prevail.” He will not prevail in prayer. Can there be a greater judgment? God will not hear their prayers. Actually, it does not say that God will not hear, but that God will not answer favorably. He will ignore their pleadings, because they have rebelled. It is a striking thought. Is this the same God we encounter today? It certainly is, and here God says that those who are in rebellion are not going to prevail in their prayers. The application is clear.

We looked a little at Isaiah 15 last time, but the two chapters (15, 16) really go together in the book of Isaiah. The Moabites are warned about their pride and arrogance (16:6-8). The prophet even mourns over their fate (16:9-11). They are judged (16:12-14). What happens in 16:1-5 is interesting - and a little interlude. The Moabites are admonished to deal kindly with God’s people – the exiled Jews. The Lord is saying, “These are My people. They will remain. You will not, if you treat them unkindly.” In mercy, God promises the exiles that He will establish them. He loves them. He will deal kindly with them. The passage also makes it clear that those who oppress them will be the worse for it.

The Israelites suffered greatly for their rebellion, but they were still God’s people. He still loved them, because He had set His love upon them. Isaiah 16:1-5 is a wonderful picture of God’s love to rebellious people. He will take them back. This is echoed time and again in the Old and New Testaments. “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us,” Hosea 6:1. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, return to Me,” Zechariah 1:3. We are to cling to the Lord. We know this in the hard times, but we cling even in the good times. At all times, we are to trust in Jesus. It is here that we find lasting joy, peace, and satisfaction. We are all too prone to find our joys or look for peace in temporal things. These never satisfy. It is in returning to the Lord, seeking His face, that the longings we have can be met, and the burdens we endure can be lifted. The above verse (Isaiah 16:5) tells us how God’s lovingkindness is established for His people. God Himself establishes it. Let us rest in this, and seek these deeper things that are found only in the things of God.

Soli Deo Gloria,

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