“And in that day you will say: ‘O Lord, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation'" (Isaiah 12:1-2).
In the first 11 chapters of the book of Isaiah, God has rebuked His people for their unfaithfulness to Him (cf. Isaiah 1:1-6; 3:8-9; 5:1-4) and pronounced judgment of them for their sins by allowing other nations to afflict them (cf. Isaiah 1:7-8; 5:5-7; 10:5-6). Yet, in the midst of His rebuke and judgment of them, God reminds them of a brighter day when His Son will come and bring with Him the opportunity for salvation not only for Israel, but for all men (cf. Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-5, 11-16).
How were the people to respond to all these actions of God? Were they to dwell on their own past failures for having to be rebuked for their unfaithfulness to God or were they to rejoice in the present salvation God brought to them through His Son? Upon what should I dwell regarding God’s actions in my life? Should I dwell upon my own past failures or should I focus on God’s current salvation?
As the opening verses above indicate, following God’s punishment for their sins and the subsequent salvation He was bringing to them through His Son, the people were to respond not by dwelling on their past mistakes, but in praise to God for His present comfort of them (Isaiah 12:1-2). They were to allow themselves to be filled with joy as they contemplated God’s actions towards them: “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). God’s praise was to be upon their lips as they shared with others what God had done for them in spite of their own failures: “And in that day you will say: ‘Praise the Lord, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!’” (Isaiah 12:4-6).
In the upcoming chapters of Isaiah, the author will once again revert back to God’s judgment not only upon Israel, but also upon the nations which surround her (Isaiah 13-34). God’s judgment was certainly real and it was coming. However, God wanted to comfort His people by reminding them of the blessings to come through the Messiah. The faithful remnant among God’s people during Isaiah’s time were to allow themselves to be comforted regarding the blessings God was bringing His people through Jesus Christ rather than just focusing on the judgment God was bringing upon the unfaithful among their number.
As Christians we have seen many of our fellow Christians become unfaithful to Christ over the years. Furthermore, we realize our own struggle with sin and acknowledge our own failures to follow God at times as we allow Satan to lead us astray. It is important that we daily strive to follow God and when we fail, we need to get up and once again cling to God’s hand, and in faith allow Him to lead us. But, we need to realize we are depending on His strength not our own (Philippians 4:13). We need to let God comfort us by reminding ourselves of His great love for us and for our brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than to allow Satan to discourage us by reminding us of our failures or the failures of others. Today, I will embrace the comfort that God gives to me through His Son Jesus Christ!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).