The Angel of His Presence Saved Them
Sunday, April 17, 2016
My vacation was great. I spent time with the my family and friends. I needed that. Thank you for making that possible. I am so glad you understand the importance of family and have given me permission to take the time I need to be with them as you have. Thank you.
I want to continue our study of Isaiah. There are only a few more chapters in this book of messages to Judah in a difficult time. By this time in Isaiah's messages, Judah has been taken into captivity to Babylon. They will spend 70 years there before God restores them to the land He has promised to Abraham's seed. We pick up with chapter 63. Isaiah records a conversation he has with God. It takes the form of Isaiah asking questions and God answering them.
Isaiah asks: Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?
God responds: "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."
Isaiah's second question is: 2 Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
God responds again: 3 "I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger, and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. 5 And I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me; and My wrath upheld Me. 6 And I trod down the peoples in My anger, and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." NASB
God speaks of vengeance and of redemption. God owes us nothing. At least, He owes us nothing that we would consider good. If God gave us what we deserve, what He owes us, we would all be without hope. There would be salvation for no one if God dealt with us as He has every right to deal with us. As Paul put it in Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
When we look at God's dealings with people in the Old Testament, some think that God was unfair to have Israel wipe out the Caananites who were in the land before they arrived. However, God was protecting those who He had given promise to. He was keeping His Word and following through on what He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
How many times, did God allow other people to mistreat His people? We see them again, and again forsaking God, God allowing them to be taken into bondage by other peoples. Then they would turn back to God and God would send a deliverer to help them. This scenario was repeated over and over. All of the slaughter and judgment, and yes vengeance of God was due to the sinfulness of man. The problems we face in life may not be caused by our own personal rebellion, but as a race, we have brought our problems on ourselves by our lack of trust and obedience to God.
Isaiah sees this side of God, but He also sees another side. Salvation, if it were to come to humankind, would have to come from God. He quotes God as saying, “4 For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. 5 And I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me; and My wrath upheld Me.” NASB
If we are to have a relationship with God, it would have to be paid for by God. We have no means to purchase it for ourselves. Our sin has used up all the credit God could offer to us. Salvation comes from a loving God who forgives those who put their trust in Him.
As Isaiah continues his message in this chapter of his writings He speaks of the mercy, or lovingkindnesses of the Lord. Pick up reading in verse 7
7 I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. 8 For He said,
"Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely." So He became their Savior. NASB
So He became their Savior. His salvation is not given because anyone deserves it. It is because of God's goodness that He offers salvation to anyone. WE are not redeemed by our choosing of God, but by His choosing of us. He speaks, He calls us to repent, to accept Him by faith. That is, to give up ignoring Him and to begin to trust Him.
So often we act as if God owes us something. We pray and think that God must answer because we prayed. But that is simply our arrogance and pride. God owes us nothing. If He answers our prayers, it is because He has chosen to love us out of the goodness of His heart.
We act as if there is a formula that we can follow to force God to do for us what we want Him to do. There is no formula. God simply wants us to accept Him unconditionally. Our obedience to Him, must not be part of a deal we make with God. If we do good, the deal says, then God must honor the deal and do good to us.
God wants to do good to us and He wants us to accept His goodness and trust His love. Our obedience needs to grow out of that trust in Him. When we trust Him, we will obey, because we have come to believe God loves us even though we are not worthy of that love.
Salvation is a free gift from God. Salvation is given as we put our trust in Him and begin to enjoy the truth of His great love. He wants to have a relationship with you.
Will you accept that gift?
The next line in Isaiah 63 is the verse from which I took the title for the message today. Pick up in verse 9:
9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. 11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them, 12 who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, 13 who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; 14 as the cattle which go down into the valley, The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So didst Thou lead Thy people, to make for Thyself a glorious name. NASB
“The angel of His presence saved them.”
It is the presence of God that gives us life. Without Him we are dead in our sin. It is His presence that gives eternal life, spiritual life to the lost and dying.
God expects us to accept Him and His salvation. We do not need to earn it. He gives it freely. It is in living with Him that we begin to be shaped in the image of Christ. It is the Presence of God through the Holy Spirit indwelling us that the fruit of the Spirit is developed in us.
Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.” He wants us to rest in Him, to relax and enjoy the life that He gives. So often we struggle and make life so much harder than it is. We allow the enemy to fill us with dread and fear.
God brings peace and joy. The flesh, the enemy, the world, fill us with unrest and worry. Accept the gift of salvation and relax in the Lord. It is His Presence that saves us and brings healing to our souls.
Spend your time reading His Word, singing the songs of faith and believing that God loves you. If you are thinking that God hates you, you are mistaken. That is not God talking to you. He will convict you of your sin, but He will not condemn you. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Paul tells us.
Lets close out this chapter of Isaiah. Verse 15:
15 Look down from heaven, and see from Thy holy and glorious habitation; where are Thy zeal and Thy mighty deeds? The stirrings of Thy heart and Thy compassion are restrained toward me. 16 For Thou art our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not recognize us. Thou, O Lord, art our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Thy name. 17 Why, O Lord, dost Thou cause us to stray from Thy ways, and harden our heart from fearing Thee? Return for the sake of Thy servants, the tribes of Thy heritage. 18 Thy holy people possessed Thy sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down. 19 We have become like those over whom Thou hast never ruled, like those who were not called by Thy name. NASB
God is our Father.
He is not some harsh taskmaster. He is our Redeemer, Our Savior. He is our Lord and Master, our King.
When we do not put our trust in God, we become like those over whom God has not ruled; like those who are not called by His name.
When we do put our trust in God... When we Seek Him and accept His love for us, we live in His presence and trust in His forgiveness and love for us.
God loves me. He is my Lord. Say that with me. God loves me. He is my Lord.
When we begin to live as if these are true, we will enjoy the peace, the presence of the God who created us, the God who loves us.