God’s Story... For My Life - Monday, December 9, 2013
The People of God
Read Isaiah 65:1–66:24
The Lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.
“Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them—both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the Lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full!”
In Romans 10:20-21, the apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 65:1-2. Israel considered itself to be the only people of God, but the time would come when other nations would seek him. “A nation that did not call on my name” (Isaiah 65:1) refers to the Gentiles. God’s people today are those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.
God spoke a word of judgment to those who disobeyed his laws when they worshiped and sacrificed to idols (Exodus 20:1-4), consulted the dead and evil spirits (Leviticus 19:31), and ate forbidden foods (Leviticus 11). Yet those to whom this indictment was spoken were so perverse that they still thought they were more sacred than others. Jesus called such people hypocrites (Matthew 23:13-36).
God said that he would pay back the people for their sins. Judgment is not our job but his, because he alone is just. Only God knows what is a completely fair reward or punishment. If you’re stewing about someone who “deserves” judgment, ask God for help to release your anger, bitterness, or frustration, and for the grace to accept his time frame.