His Help Will Come

     Our ideas about the character of God are helped along to maturity by the work of the prophet Isaiah. “For whatever things are written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). He of all the prophets helps us understand the way God is and specifically how the concepts of grace and judgment are woven together in the Father and manifested in His Son.

     Isaiah 53 stands as the place to go to understand the character of God’s Son Jesus. These days Jesus is whatever people want Him to be. Folks have created an imaginary friend and called him Jesus. The things that pass for reflection on the nature of Christ today have more to do with our foolish desire to have man be the measure of all things (an idea from the philosophies of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment). We have enthroned “man” and forgotten the “Man” of God.

     So it is in Isaiah 53 we see the picture of our Savior as a sufferer. Mankind did not worship Him when He came; instead He was despised and rejected. “We” is a pronoun that includes those who rejected Isaiah’s prophecy, the foolish men of the first century and those today who dismiss Christ as one of many. Modern man does not examine Christ and reject Him based on their understanding of the evidence in the world and the Word. They simply reject Him out of hand in preference for their pet gods.

     Isaiah 53 is also disdained by moderns because of the clear implication that we need someone to save us. We cannot do it on our own. It is safe to say that no one can be saved who does not believe that he or she needs salvation. This category of humanity includes those who think that being “pretty good” is enough to handle the reality of the afterlife (if, in their little minds, there is any). It also includes those who do not believe that there is any particular way to live. The idea is that human beings are just animals exercising their wills as individuals or as packs like wolves. For these people there is no absolute morality in life. Life is whatever they can get away with. They make their own gods.

     But we can be thankful that God is better than we are. He knows what we need better than we do. So we have the suffering Savior of Isaiah 53. He is the reality of grace and truth (John 1:17). No one will be saved except by the grace of God. No one will be saved outside of the truth of God. We are sanctified by that truth (John 17:17). As Jesus said while He was with His men, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

     Think about God’s grace, that unmerited favor extended to man, and consider how it functions in this world, a world given over to creating gods of our own choosing. It matters not what these gods are called. If mankind creates his own god that god is by definition, false (Exodus 20:3-4). He may call his creation “God” or “Jesus” but unless he has in mind the God described in the Bible this act of a proud intellect is doomed.

     Isaiah helps us here too. Consider 42:1: “I have held My peace a long time. I have been still and restrained Myself.” God held back then in face of the unfaithfulness of His people. But He ultimately punished the hateful rebels with destruction and captivity. Those, like Isaiah and others of the faithful remnant were reassured of God’s justice when judgment finally came on Jerusalem.

     So it is today that we live in a place and time when men have created an idea of God that does not resemble the God of the Bible. Because of this evil is paramount. Might makes right. Goodness is weakness. People cheat, steal and murder with consciences cleared by lies (5:20). It is a world of brutal sadness.

     But, as Isaiah says, God will not forsake the faithful. He will make those who create their own gods greatly ashamed (42:16-17). God will help the faithful here and now and in the pursuit of Heaven. Grace and judgment are present together in the Lord. His help will come.