Since yesterday’s passage was out of Isaiah 9, I decided to pick up where I left off and read my way up to today’s section: Isaiah 11.1-5. God declares the coming judgment on his beloved Israel because of their willful rebellion through a thorough smashing from the nation of Assyria. But then He makes a turn that, when I forced myself to be honest, definitely seemed unfair to me. God declares in very clear terms that He will destroy Assyria for their actions against Israel. How could a just God punish an entire people for doing what He willed? Isn’t that punishing one people for disobedience and punishing another for obedience?
I could do my best to rationalize this judgment. Actually, there is enough explained in the passage itself to allow for a fairly clear explanation (In simplified form, God judges both people’s for the same sin: idolatry). But I know how dangerous it is to automatically look for explanations when I don’t understand or agree with something I read in God’s Word. Explaining things away makes me the standard; if I read something that doesn’t fit with my decisions on who God is or how He works, my crooked heart can dismiss it or twist it carefully enough to make it say what I think it needs to. The mental slope is so slippery and before I know it, I can be worshipping a tiny god of my own creation rather than the actual Great I AM
From this place of coming judgment God promises His people one thing: hope. Most will be destroyed, but not all.
God always leaves a remnant.
“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot – yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.” Isaiah 11.1-5
From this remnant God will raise up the ultimate Judge, who is the very manifestation of His character. God Himself with us. The coming Jesus, filled with the Spirit of God, is the same One who deals out justice in Chapter 10. Our God is not vindictive, nor is He contradictory. He is holy.
Lord, you don’t have to answer to me. In fact, you don’t answer to me. You are God, I am your creation. Your Word is both ultimate and right. I don’t see things clearly; change my mind. Transform me from the inside out. Change the way I think. My mental framework is nothing compared to yours. You ways are far beyond me. I trust that You are right and good all the time, regardless of my comprehension.