God’s Father-Heart ~ Isaiah Series ~ Part 1
~ Isaiah Series ~
Sometimes, as a parent, we have to give our kids consequences for their misbehavior.
“Do you want a consequence?” I hear my best friend say to her little boys, ages 3 and 5, on a frequent basis. The way they do it in their family is that, when the boys are tempted to either disobey or do something they know is not acceptable, Mom or Dad will remind the boys that all of their choices have consequences. The boys are reminded of the rules, encouraged to “make a good choice,” and, if he is still considering the alternative, he is reminded that “a consequence” will result.
Sometimes the consequence is a natural one— like a bruised up head for disobeying your parents and jumping off the end of the couch near the sharp-edged cabinet (which your mom has told you a hundred times not to do).
Another consequence might be a suitable punishment of sorts— like a “time out” or a “you can’t go play at your friend’s house because you have, once again, spoken rudely to your sibling or your parent.”
Or perhaps, as your consequence, a privilege might be taken away.
If you make a “good choice” you will be rewarded with smiles and praise. If you make a poor choice, “consequences” will follow.
It is just basic parenting. Even the most flawed of us recognize how necessary consequences are in helping to train our little ones.
With that in mind: I’ve been diving into the ancient book of Isaiah for the past few months and one of the things I keep being struck with while journeying through Isaiah is how important it is to back up and look at what I’m reading in the Bible in context. If all I did was read a passage in Isaiah here, a snippet of Isaiah there, I would be so confused regarding God’s character and what He is like and what His intent is— He might even seem overly harsh and cold. But if I zoom out and recognize what was going on in history at the time— and all God had been doing all along the way to get the Israelites’ attention and warn them and show them His love and grace— I can see that God is actually extremely patient and generous and compassionate.
He really is a loving and tender-hearted Father who is doing what is necessary to wake His kids up to the errors of their ways (and to protect His other kids from getting further injured, destroyed, and/or corrupted along the way).
He has His children’s best interest in mind. He is trying to help them have the most fruitful, peace-filled, rewarding life possible.
In a small way, as a mom myself, I “get” that aspect of parenting.
Throughout Isaiah, God talks to the Israelites in such kind and tender, parent-like ways. He says beautiful things like this:
“Listen to me… you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4)
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18)
“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, “Here am I, here am I.” All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations– a people who continually provoke me to my very face…” (Isaiah 65:1-3)
And when I zoom out and look at how He interacted with His kids over the course of history, and how He continuously modeled a pattern of instruction, patience, warning, and judgment, with grace as a banner over it all— I can’t help but think about the Parable of the Prodigal Son that Jesus told in Luke 15. In fact, when I look at all that happened in the Old Testament and marry it with Jesus’ arrival and all He did here (and all the prophecies He fulfilled) and all He continues to do in my life right now— I cannot help but be blown away by the compassion of the Father.
The term “excessively gracious” comes to mind when I see all God did for His kids from Genesis on. His love really has been the central component all along.
Over the next several weeks, as I continue to dive into Isaiah on my own, and as my church studies this book in depth during our weekend services, I am going to be sharing my thoughts here on the blog. I would love if you joined me. And feel free to listen to the solid teaching happening on the weekends if you feel so inclined. (Click here to listen to the sermon series.)
I look forward to hashing out this incredible ancient book with you.
I’ll see you again soon!
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What about you?
What are some of your first impressions of the book of Isaiah? What characteristic of God stands out to you in these passages?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.
- Tuning Into the Whispers
- Wrestling With God (What I Do When I Don’t Like What I Read in the Bible)
- When We’re Sure We Are Dreadfully Screwing Up Our Kids